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Old 06-24-2012, 04:47 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 6,002,720 times
Reputation: 4586

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Hi Everyone!

I'm actually posing this question on behalf of my mother. She's looking to sell her house (in Australia) in about a year or so. The house has currently been appraised at just over $500k but my mother thinks it would be an easier sell if she did some significant updating.

When the house was built in 1960, it was built by the architect / developer of the subdivision for his own family to live in and is subsequently overloaded with Mid Century Modern glory. My mother was the second owner of the house, having purchased it in 1980. Beyond routine maintenance and upkeep, she made no major changes to the property... yet.

The house still retains a Mamie Pink Bathroom and Powder Blue Bathroom, and two original kitchens (albeit with new cooktops and ovens).

Some of the work my mother has already had done, I understand (updating windows, repainting white throughout, putting in new skylights, repolishing the hardwood floors throughout) but tomorrow she's getting a quote to get the kitchens and bathrooms ripped out to make way for Modern.

Personally, I don't think modern kitchens and bathrooms will suit the house at all, but obviously I'm not the one buying it.

I personally see Mid Century features as a selling point. My husband and I are looking to buy a house here in the U.S. right now, and I'm specifically looking for Mid Century Modern with limited cosmetic updates.

She doesn't want to update for more profit- just to help the house get off her hands as quickly as possible when she's ready to sell, and she's been advised to update.

What do you think?

Personally, I think the positives of the house outweigh the need to strip away it's Mid Century beauty:

-It's only 8 miles (13 kms) from the CBD
-It's close to Public Transport links and the Motorway
-It's in a quiet, well maintained subdivision
-It's solid brick construction with no structural deficiencies
-It's got a 1950s 'Palm Springs' style swimming pool, impeccably maintained (pools are a positive selling point in Australia)
-Clear view of the mountains from the kitchen, and a view of the ocean from the master bedroom
-4 Beds, 2 Full Baths, 2 Kitchens, 2 Living Rooms, Formal Dining Room, Separate Study and Sunroom

I'm not trying to sell my mother's house for her- I just don't see why she'd want to sink money into it to do updates that aren't really necessary (in my opinion). The housing market is still fairly strong in Australia by the way.

What do you think? Do you think she should spend the money on aesthetically updating? Will it make it an easier sell?

If you viewed a house in the Half Mil price range- would you expect all mod-cons or would you want the house to retain some of it's original features?

I'd really like your $0.02 on this

Thanks a lot!!!
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:54 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
31,375 posts, read 69,765,043 times
Reputation: 37459
There is almost never any percentage in remodeling other than for your own use and enjoyment.
People who buy expensive homes will have their own tastes.
People attracted by MCM will prefer it left alone.

If the plan is to sell... then KEEP IT SIMPLE:
Clean, fresh, whole, fixed, and cleared of distracting clutter.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
9,240 posts, read 17,867,406 times
Reputation: 10864
Not everyone loves the pink bathroom, even though the people who do feel strongly about it. But if the original kitchen cabinets are in good condition, then I'd do everything I can to keep them and only maybe replace counters for something less laminated. Chances are, the original wood will be of far better quality than what's going into a new kitchen these days.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,876 posts, read 14,569,210 times
Reputation: 29128
I can't speak to the housing market in Australia, but mid-century modern design is very hot among young buyers in the U.S. With its other attributes, the house should be able to be sold at a good price by a smart Realtor IF MCM is as popular there as here and IF the Realtor markets the house properly (in the U.S there are some Realtors who specialize in MCM). Many people would tear out a pink bathroom, but not everyone. In fact they are selling point for some people: Save The Pink Bathroom

My mother put her fifties Cape Cod home up for sale in a down-market town in the worst part of the real estate crash. It had a blue, what I would call "fake colonial," kitchen that several Realtors told her would prevent her from getting a decent price for her house. I, in my wisdom, thought it was the teeny bathroom that would kill a deal and I advised her to update that to the max. Thinking her house was golden, as so many golden-agers do, she refused any modernization of either space. And darned if she didn't get her full asking price in record time from a thirty-year-old who thought the kitchen was "charmingly retro" and the bathroom was something that she and her father could customize to her preference.

There's absolutely NO accounting for taste. These days I'm of the mind that you should repair obvious defects then take a shot on selling without cosmetic changes. You are always going to have some buyer who walks out because of a particular design element. I frantically painted one house I sold the neutral color my Realtor demanded (she called it "fawn"), yet I still had some lookers who said it was "boring." Who knows what those buyers would have reacted to positively. Something others would have hated, no doubt.

Good luck to you and Mom.
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
2,287 posts, read 4,862,084 times
Reputation: 2542
I completely agree with your mother. No, I don't know her ; )

Leave it alone. I, too, am looking for an "un-remodeled" mid-century mod house and want to vomit every time I see the so-called upgrades people do (granite, faux-tuscan tile, cherry cabinets, beige walls w/white trim, cheap white vinyl windows, laminate floors...ugh). I wish I could find a house with a pink bathroom or, even better, a pink kitchen! If MCM is as popular there, she'll have no trouble selling it.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,404,237 times
Reputation: 14042
Mid-century modern is getting bigger and more respected all the time; it's a bona fide true style, was usually done in a quality way with quality materials and will certainly take it's place as a classic "never gets old" style like craftsman, victorian or colonial in the near future.

If the house is a good architect-designed example of the style it will only ruin the home's future value and attractiveness by trying to turn it into something it isn't.

You don't want to be like one of those people who tore out their plaster and quartersawn oak Arts and Crafts living rooms, then sprayed in a popcorn ceiling, covered the walls with fake wood paneling and floors with orange shag to "modernize" the place back in the 70's, do you?
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:54 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
14,188 posts, read 27,006,463 times
Reputation: 27434
MCM is becoming quite popular. Don't change to sell. Chances are the people who buy the house would want to chose their own bits to renovate. I would get the quote for the remodeling I thought was necessary and reduce the price of the house by that amount.

Your Mom's buyers may actually decide NOT to purchase if all the original MCM features are redone.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:51 AM
 
917 posts, read 3,086,945 times
Reputation: 981
I agree with the other posters. Do just minimal updates. Keep the interior true to the type of architecture it was designed for and maintain the historical authenticity while updating items that she's already done, like some appliances and repairing things that are worn out.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:22 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 98,135,386 times
Reputation: 30523
Mid Century Modern is all the craze now in the states.
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:39 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 6,002,720 times
Reputation: 4586
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoisjongalt View Post
I completely agree with your mother. No, I don't know her ; )

Leave it alone. I, too, am looking for an "un-remodeled" mid-century mod house and want to vomit every time I see the so-called upgrades people do (granite, faux-tuscan tile, cherry cabinets, beige walls w/white trim, cheap white vinyl windows, laminate floors...ugh). I wish I could find a house with a pink bathroom or, even better, a pink kitchen! If MCM is as popular there, she'll have no trouble selling it.
Actually *I'm* the one looking for a house that isn't remodeled... orange kitchens, pink bathrooms, bring it on! My mother is the one who wants to remodel and strip away my childhood home's mid century beauty
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