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Vail Daily column: Does unusual floor plan harm home’s value?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

My spouse and I have been looking at homes in mid-valley for over nine months. There is one home in particular that we like that has not sold in all of that time. We haven’t made an offer yet because we are concerned with the floor plan. We like everything else about this home, but the floor plan is unusual, and although we think we can easily make it work for us, we wonder if it will be harder to sell someday because it is obviously different. If the location is good and the finishes are great and the size is good, how important is an unusual floor plan in the future?

Dear “Make it Work,”



When you say “unusual floor plan,” that could mean a lot of different things. In general, there are two main reasons why properties don’t sell when they are put on the market. Of course the first and most obvious is that the price is too high for the home, the location and the current market. The second reason is new this decade: Poor presentation on the Internet and consequently online searches that lead to eliminations from the photographs. As Marni Jameson, a real estate writer in last Saturday’s Denver Post, says about her personal house hunting: “This process is exactly like online dating. If the house didn’t have photographic appeal, promise and potential, or if it was geographically undesirable or had obvious chronic issues, we hit delete.” Therefore, if the Realtor did not use a professional photographer, or the selection of pictures shows features that appear undesirable on the Internet, then the public never comes to look at the property.

“This process is exactly like online dating. If the house didn’t have photographic appeal, promise and potential, or if it was geographically undesirable or had obvious chronic issues, we hit delete.”Marni JamesonThe Denver Post

Possibly this unusual floor plan feature is prominent enough on the Internet that there are very few showings. Many times professional staging will make the home look and actually live much more comfortably, which can be a quick and easy fix.



In your case, if it appears the pictures, presentation and staging are good, then you need to consult your professional Realtor on why this home has lingered and how does she feel about resale in the future? Find out from your Realtor what the price per square foot is that homes​, in general, are selling for in the neighborhood. ​Then, talk to your Realtor about the unusual floor plan criteria that you see, i.e. multi-level​, bi-level, single level​ with no family room, basement with no egress,​ or whatever you may consider unusual.

Whatever it is​ that you are concerned about​, ask ​your Realtor​ to see what other homes in that area, that have similar features​,​ have sold for​ in the past​. Presuming there are some other homes that have ​somewhat the same​ floor plan feature, (and there usually ​are), you will start to get a sense of what you can offer to buy it right to protect yourself in the future when you sell. Your talented Realtor can help you fashion an offer that should protect you, yet not insult the seller​s. Skillful​ negotiation on the part of your Realtor will pay off for everyone in the transaction.

Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised to find the seller cooperating in a realistic sale and you get your beautiful, non-traditional home at a great price! Best of luck to you!



Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.


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