NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE WEEK: Easter eggs of home buying

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  • Photos by TYLER WILSON A neighborhood in North Idaho.

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    Photo by TYLER WILSON

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  • Photos by TYLER WILSON A neighborhood in North Idaho.

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    Photo by TYLER WILSON

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Forgive this flimsy attempt to connect Neighborhood of the Week with the holiday, but buying a home really can become a grown-ups version of an Easter egg hunt.

Most home purchases obviously revolve around the essentials — the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, location, fenced backyard, kitchen space etc. Those essentials aren’t guaranteed in a tight market, especially if you don’t have much flexibility on price. As the weather warms, so can the market of available homes. You might be deciding between a few different homes that check off all the essentials. How do you decide?

The Easter eggs.

So many home buyers talk about finding “character” in a property, or something that makes it stand apart from the rest of the pack. Those characteristics that make a property unique are Easter eggs — the little bonuses that can take a home over the edge… or it can be something that steers you away from making an offer.

There are good Easter eggs and bad ones, and it can vary by shopper’s preference. One person may like the random assortment of jelly beans in an egg, while another prefers a finely-wrapped Hershey’s kiss.

Nevertheless, some eggs tend to be more appealing, and some nobody will ever want. Sellers would be wise to hide those eggs well.

Good Egg — Logical outlets and air vents

You would think by now all houses would have a standard way of approaching the placement of electrical outlets and heating/cooling vents. Alas, some of these things appear in the most random places.

Sure, it’s a little thing, but I’ve had firsthand experience struggling with the jigsaw puzzle of aligning furniture, beds, and electronics around outlets and vents. Some bedrooms only have one vent, and of course the bed can only fit by sitting right on top of it.

In most cases, a strange layout of outlets and vents won’t be a derailing factor. But a smart layout and an abundance of power can add a significant convenience.

Good egg — Built-in shelving

Currently (and always) all the rage on the “House Hunters”-style shows, built in shelves for books or electronics or for inside closets can really make a property shine against comparables on the market. People have stuff, they want a neat place to stuff their stuff, and nobody wants the hassle of building stand-alone bookcases with the vague instructions and missing pieces and… sorry, there’s personal history here.

Sure, built-ins won’t be popular with everyone, especially those looking for a blank slate-type property, and some will be nicer than others. Still, some nice shelving in a closet, office or den area can offer that extra spark.

Bad egg — DIY Home Improvements

Let’s call this the Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor approach to do-it-yourself projects. Obviously, many homeowners make spectacular additions to their homes, but a poor home improvement project sticks out worse than, well, a rotten egg.

We’re talking about things like uneven tile work, slightly misaligned flooring, lazy wall patches, exposed wiring. It may not be noticeable to everyone, but once you’re keyed into spotting it, buyers can’t help but wonder what else the previous owner did to the home. Was there an attempt at amateur plumbing? Why would wires be sticking out of there in the first place? These aren’t questions buyers want to be asking themselves.

Good egg — Gardens

For those looking to use some outdoor space to grow their own food and flowers, the presence of raised garden beds or a neatly-contained, dedicated gardening area can be a welcome sight. It’s just a nice little amenity you don’t see at most properties, and it can provide just an eensy bit of inspiration to utilize your outdoor space outside simply mowing the lawn.

Good egg — Home theater setups

Fully-installed, pre-wired surround sound in a den or entertainment area seem to pop up more often in listings, and some properties will even toss the speakers and projection screen into the mix. Finding these in a home is nice, because worst case scenario you can easily take down the visible components and use the space however you want it.

Good egg — Bidets

OK, maybe a long shot, but wouldn’t it be a nice bonus? Like, sure, have the regular toilet, but also the bidet right next to it. For when you’re feeling European. Anybody?

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Let us know about standout neighborhoods and developments that we may feature in an upcoming Neighborhood of the Week. Contact Tyler Wilson at twilson@cdapress.com.

Real Estate Agents, take advantage of Neighborhood of the Week by sending in your suggestions for featured areas, including sites outside the normal confines of Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Hayden.

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