Open, Light & Bright, Sells
One of the wonderful things about this weekly column, Market Insights, is you are provided with the unfiltered truth directly from buyers and sellers in Summit County. My office is on Main Street in Breckenridge and I make my living, full time, working with real estate clients. What I hear from them, I convey to you 52 times a year.
In our office, we have an extra tool that helps me stay in extra close contact with what buyers want: feedback emails that are compiled into reports with charts, graphs and summaries. This information is priceless for buyers and sellers. In the past year or so, I have seen a trend in buyer preferences to add to your list of “location, location, location.”
An open floor plan has been popular for years. The addition to this trend I am hearing loud and clear these days is “wide open with vaulted ceiling.” Buyers want that great room feeling to flow though the entire living area. This achieves a much greater sense of space while keeping the home smaller (the trend in mountain homes which I will save for another article).
An example is a property in The Highlands in Breckenridge with an open floor plan, but only vaulted in the great room, and the feedback is, “It feels chopped up, we want open.” In this particular home, the space flows well; however, the dining area, adjacent to the great room, has a standard ceiling height which creates the feeling of segmentation that buyers are moving away from in today’s market.
Light and bright
And what defines light and bright in the buyer’s mind? The orientation of the house, the sunlight that streams in, large windows and the interior finishes. The fourth point, interior finishes, is the big shift buyers are talking about in their feedback. The interior finishes most desirable in the Summit County market have been wood, log and rock features that create that infamous “mountain cabin” feeling. Just yesterday, I reviewed five months of feedback about a home the owners call “The Cabin.” This multi-million dollar home was completed in 2002, at the peak of the heavy log design period. Over 60% of the buyer feedback on this home, in summary, says, “too dark and heavy.”
Yes, it appears we are at the start of a very important shift. It seems buyers are moving away from that quintessential “Colorado mountain home” toward finishes that lighten the home up. Hold on. Don’t get me wrong. I am not seeing buyers asking for modern designs, as made popular in magazines such as Dwell. What they are asking for are mountain homes that have been lightened up. Things like light or white trim, the windows being the focal point of the great rooms (as opposed to an overpowering stone fireplace) and soft colors that lift a room up.
These photos provide a perfect example of this trend. The builder of this home, located just a couple of blocks from Main Street, Breckenridge, gave the home the features buyers want today. The vaulted ceiling follows from the great room into the dining area and into the kitchen. Note the light and bright trim. It has five bedrooms in 3,376 sq. ft., yet due to the design, feels more like 4,300 sq. ft. It is offered for $1,225,000.
Market Insight for the week.
Buyers: Be thinking ahead. If you plan to buy and hold a property for 10 years, then resell it for a profit, you must pay attention to design trends.
Sellers: Work with a Realtor and a stager who intimately understand what buyers want. Take the time and invest the money to make your home as appealing to today’s buyer as possible. It is no longer your home. It is a product for sale that needs to attract the highest possible price.
Daniel has earned the national Quality Service Certified® Platinum award, recognition of 100% client satisfaction. He is a Broker Associate at Resort Brokers Real Estate, Breckenridge. Call him at (970) 393-3300. To receive his concise weekly ‘pulse of the market’ email him a line Daniel@YourMountainBroker.com.