High End vs Vintage Homes

vintage

noun  vin·tage  \ ˈvin-tij \

1a (1) a season’s yield of grapes or wine from a vineyard

(2) wine; especially: a usually superior wine all or most of which comes from a single year

a collection of contemporaneous and similar persons or things: crop

2the act or time of harvesting grapes or making wine

3a a period of origin or manufacture such as a piano of 1845 vintage

length of existence: age

In this case, we are talking about Vintage Homes.  Why use the word Vintage?  Because old sounds old and tired as if the home is in need of work when that’s not always the case. Many of these old homes have been lovingly restored with modern features yet retain an amount of charm and character that new homes often lack. A home absorbs the feel of the families who occupied it and the older the home, the more life it has experienced. They are full of love and sadness, joy and sorrow. They have a character that you feel as well as see. It’s no secret that I LOVE Vintage homes and it is for this very reason.

Recently I had the opportunity to view a stately mansion, circa 1916. I called my friend and fellow Realtor, Lydia to join me on this expedition. Lydia is a Buyers Agent for high-end clients but rarely sets foot in a Vintage home. I have listed a few high-end homes but my passion is Vintage. It was fun to tour this home together as our perspectives where far from overlapping.

The first thing she noticed was a slope in the kitchen floor. I bounced on it a few times, looked at the joists from below and declared there were no worries, it’s typical settling for this age. She was stunned. What do you mean this is FINE?  Agreed, in a new home it is most certainly not fine but in a 120 year old home, it’s normal and expected. I was excited that the home had air-conditioning. Lydia gave me a blank stare. Why wouldn’t it have air? Because it’s an upgrade! Even in this high end price range, not all homes have updated heating, cooling and electrical. This one has all three! The kitchen in this home is spacious which excited me. In many Vintage homes, the kitchen was an afterthought.  Lydia was concerned that her high-end buyers would bemoan the lack of granite tops and stainless steel. OK, she has a point on that one. I was unhappy that the master bath was not done in period tile. She was overjoyed that the travertine tile, rain forest shower head and large, claw foot tub for soaking gave the owners a spa-like feel. Everything else is period, can’t we give them one getaway to relax and rejuvenate? OK, I’ll give her that one too. She knows what her buyers need and if her buyers are not into the quirks and peccadilloes of Vintage, a home like this would be a poor choice. However, even if Vintage is their thing, they may still want a touch of modern.

It’s always important to work with a buyers agent who understands what you want and need in a home. By the same token, if you are selling a Vintage home it would behoove you to pick an agent that shares your passion. As we have just discussed, not all high-end real estate agents have the same perspective. Choose someone who understands you and understands your home and it will be a successful partnership every time!

Sunnyside,_173_Macon_Ave.,_Asheville,_N._C._(5756038688)

Do Your Due Diligence

In North Carolina, our contracts are written to give the buyer an Inspection Period. We have labeled this the “Due Diligence Period” as this is your time to do due diligence on the home you are about to purchase.  What does this include? EVERYTHING

Home Inspection – this is a MUST, as in, you are silly to purchase a home without having a mechanic look under the hood (so to speak). They will look at the electrical, HVAC, plumbing, structure and some cosmetics of the home. They may not tell you everything that is wrong (they can’t see behind drywall) but they can alert you to what needs further examination.  For example, one transaction I was involved in had electrical that we thought had been updated but it turns out the entire second floor was still knob & tube wiring. On the home inspectors recommendation, we got a licensed electrician in for a second look and an estimate on repairs. Another time the foundation of a home was bowing in. A structural engineer took a look and told us how to set it right.

Pest Inspection – does the home have active termites? Post Beetles? Now is the time to find out

Radon Inspection – Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is thought to cause lung cancer. North Carolina has a lot of it. It’s everywhere, including the air you breathe as you walk out the door. The EPA has set a limit of 4 pCi/L for the amount of radon that is safe inside of your home.  If it’s over that limit, it’s time to talk to the seller about mitigating.

Well Water – is the water contaminated? Here is your chance to find out

Septic Tanks & City Sewer – Is everything functioning? Septic’s should be pumped and inspected. City lines can be scoped for tree roots that would cause blockage

This is not a finite list. Every house has it’s own little peccadilloes that will require it’s own list of inspections. The more you know about the home you are purchasing, the better you will feel about the purchase. Plus, you may be able to request the seller make some of the repairs and take that burden off of you.

Due Diligence is not just for inspections. In North Carolina, it also includes the time it takes to secure the loan, get an appraisal, do title work, read over restrictions, review (or obtain) surveys and any other item concerning the purchase of the home. The Due Diligence Period is your time to get to know this home and get your ducks in a row for purchasing it. Take advantage of this time.

Funny for the day. This was found in the restrictions for a home built in 1912:

Capture

“the cost of which does not equal or exceed $5,000”  –  I’m not sure you can build an outhouse for that!  Of course, the restriction is now expired and the wording is a bit ambiguous. Still pretty funny!