Unique properties in the Metro Detroit area

Everybody loves to have that special home. BUT……

Unique Properties are something to really think about before buying.  What I mean by unique properties are properties that have special characteristics that other homes in the area do not.  Is the home unusual compared to most Metro Detroit Homes?

Here are some examples

  • Berm home homes – homes that a large portion is under the ground
  • Barn homes – a home that is built out of a converted barn or even converted out of a commercial building.  Out west somebody even put a home in a missile silo
  • Geodesic homes - homes that are unusual in shape.  Octagon, A-frame, pentagon shaped, or on stilts.
  • Log homes – up north log homes are not unusual but I know of one inStonewater subdivision that is built amongst $700,000 to $1,000,000 brick homes.  There probably is not another one that size for a hundred miles.

Some of the reasons that you do not want to buy unique Metro Detroit properties like the Northville log home, or the Salem Twp berm home is that many banks won’t do a mortgage on them.  Many banks want to be able to appraise the home.  When there are no other similar homes that have sold recently like the unique home,how does the appraiser, Realtor, or bank really know what it is worth?  It will be a guess as to the value because there are no other sold homes like it to justify the price.

Another reason is that it takes a special metro Detroit home buyer to fall in love with the unique home to buy it.  The berm homewill take somebody that doesn’t mind the darkness of the home, the enclosed feeling of the home.  It will take somebody that is into being “green” and energy conscious.  But the majority of Metro Detroit home buyers won’t buy that Salem Twp berm home.  So that unique property may take months longer to sell than a “normal house”.

Unique properties will require contractors with specialized skills.  Log home maintenance will be different than a brick homes exterior maintenance.  A home with a metal roof is unique when the majority of roofs are shingled.  There is a very neat unique property at Ann Arbor Trail and Beck.  But the roof is thatched.  Can you imagine the costs of having the roof re-thatched?  It takes a special person to want that home.  Many times the costs of maintaining the unique property may be higher because of the specialized skills of the contractors.

The same thing goes for unusually large homes in a subdivision.  It doesn’t matter if it is a Plymouth subdivision or a West Bloomfield subdivision.  If it is the largest house in the subdivision it may not be worth as much as if it was in a subdivision of big homes.   It is better to buy the one of the smaller homes in the sub.

The last point is don’t buy a home with a wood basement.  Somebody I knew bought one recently.  Bad move.  Most Michigan basements are made of cinder blocks or poured concrete.  And those get water in them.  Wolmanized wood has a guarantee of 40 years.  Then what?  Don’t buy a house with a wood basement.  A basement that has a life expectancy is not a good thing.  That is just my opinion.  It will scare a lot of buyers when you go to sell it.

If the unique property makes you think and question the purchase.  Future home buyers will be thinking and asking similar questions.

So whether you are buying a Livonia home, Livingston County real estate, or an Oakland County Estate home be careful when buying a unique home.  It should be a long term purchase and should be thought over very carefully.  Buy it if you love it, but remember it will take longer to sell when you have to sell it.

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