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Fischer: Touring properties is like a box of chocolates …

By Jen Fischer - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Nov 26, 2021

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Jen Fischer

“What were they thinking?” This was not the first time, nor would it be anywhere near the last, that I asked this question. On this particular occasion, I was showing properties with “potential” to an investor client. The specific property in question was being marketed as a duplex. Since there was only one door, I assumed that there would be separate entrances to each unit once we entered. However, what we found upon opening the door was a floor … at eye level. We had a choice. I could either boost my client up to the unit on top, or we could take our chances and jump to the unit on the bottom, hoping no bones would break upon landing.

In another instance, with this same investor client, we toured a home that sat on a decent size plot of land in a country setting. The home was a rambler style and as we walked from room to room on the main floor, between the converted indoor chicken coop and the wall-to-wall carpet, we could not, for the life of us, locate the kitchen. I suggested that, perhaps, the kitchen, for the owners, had served as simply aesthetic (much like it does at my house) and, thus, they had it removed. We continued down to the basement. By this time, we were all covering out noses and mouths due to the stench from the indoor chicken coop and a myriad of other animals that had clearly resided in the home as some point (although there was plenty of room outside for said animals to roam). After walking room to room in the basement, we reached the end of the home, where … low and behold … was the kitchen, sitting in a small corner in the basement at the back of the home. I don’t know what they were thinking, but I can blatantly state that they were NOT thinking about resale.

A door that hits the smoke detector each time it is opened, an outlet directly behind the toilet, the staircase to nowhere, a urinal on the living room wall, a bathtub in the bedroom and an electrical panel next to the garbage disposal under the sink does not even begin the list of unique features in homes I have seen over the years. Honestly, I love this stuff. I just never know what I will see from day to day.

There are many home features that I see on a more regular basis in which, rather than asking “what they were thinking,” the question becomes more of “what were we thinking?” This includes decorative trends that have come and gone, but still exist in homes that have not been updated. Some things make sense for the time period, and some just don’t — and probably never will. Drop ceilings, for example. Who decided one day that the kitchen ceiling needs to drop down 12 inches lower than the rest of the home for the claustrophobic, closed-in feel? The idea was originally thought to save on heating costs, however, the return proved less than negligible.

The same can be said for carpet in the bathroom. Sure, it feels great to step out of the shower or bathtub onto a warm surface. What is not so great, is the squishy carpet after a toilet overflows or the mold and mildew growing under the carpet from multiple absorptions of damp feet. Anyone who has ever cleaned the floor surrounding a toilet knows that this is the equivalent of installing a fire hydrant for you dog atop a carpeted indoor surface.

Speaking of carpet, it is said to be the largest filter in your home. This means that everything you bring in on the bottom of your shoes transfers to the carpet. Of course, you can take your shoes off at the door, but keep in mind that airborne pollutants such as pollens, dust mites, fungus and dirt will still get trapped in the carpet. Why then, pray tell, did we ever think wall-to-wall carpeting was a good idea?

Which brings us back to the kitchen. Did we really like avocado green appliances at one time? I can’t think of an era when avocado green was ever a pretty color. Perhaps with a sweet ivy-lined wallpaper border, linoleum floors and a popcorn ceiling it was acceptable. Now, we label it as “retro” and sell it for more than ask price anyway.

I expect in the next 15 years or so we will be looking at stainless appliances, gray paint, white cabinets and LVP flooring, rolling our eyes and wondering “what were they thinking?”

Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jen@jen-fischer.com.


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