If asked to describe your dream home, you might initially focus on its size, features and appearance. But how about its location?
Many believe that location is among the most important, if not, the most important characteristic of a home. Conveniently located homes – especially new homes with modern amenities – continue to be in high demand, as countless consumers dream of living in the ideal locale where they’d benefit from quick commutes, excellent schools and accessible shopping.
A recent study from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) on housing preferences found that 64 percent of all home buyers say that proximity to retail space is desirable, if not essential, and almost 40 percent want easy access to public transit.
However, finding the perfect home to buy in the perfect location can be quite challenging. Often times the existing homes built in these sought-after, typically urban locations are older and unlikely to meet the needs of modern homebuyers.
As the amount of developable land in urban areas dwindles, more consumers are choosing to buy older homes in desirable neighborhoods with the sole intent to tear them down and replace them with brand new construction.
Nationwide, an estimated 55,000 single-family homes were built in 2015 on properties where a previous structure once stood, according to NAHB. Here in our region of the country, this “tear-down” construction accounted for approximately 7% of all single-family starts (of 28,600) in the South.
If you’re seeking the amenities of a new home, but are drawn to the charm of an older and more established neighborhood, a tear-down project could be a very exciting and rewarding proposal. But once you’ve found that special property, there are some important aspects yet to consider.
To help ensure your new home enhances the character of the community, take into account the following tips:
1. Be mindful of the architecture. Maintain an open dialogue with your builder and the architect. Discuss which elements of the surrounding community you like the most, and together, look for opportunities to integrate those features into the home’s design, while also maximizing its livability.
2. Be neighborly. Meet your future neighbors before work begins. You don’t want their first impression of you to be the (unavoidable) noises associated with demolition and construction. Briefly introduce yourself and show them you are someone who is genuinely invested – emotionally and financially – in the community. Even sending them a brief, hand-written letter in the mail will go a long way to building positive relations from the very beginning.
3. Be charitable. Before demolition starts on the original home, have it inspected and save anything that can be re-purposed in your new home to add to its character. Better yet, donate anything that might be of use to others. Non-profit donation centers accept all kinds of new or gently used furniture, appliances, housewares and building materials. Proceeds help families in your community, and you even get a tax credit for the donation while also cutting down on refuse.
The key to a successful tear-down project is to acknowledge the community’s homes, its history and – most of all – the people that make it great.