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Home Buyers Reveal: ‘The One Surprising Feature I Love Most About My Home’

February 6, 2019


It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which means it’s the perfect time to talk about love! House love, that is.

A lot of times people buy houses because they fall in love with certain features. They see a modern kitchen or beautiful front yard and can’t picture themselves in any other house. But sometimes it’s the little features—details that buyers might not pay attention to during tours—that they end up appreciating the most.

We asked homeowners to tell us their favorite (and unexpected) part of their house to show a little home appreciation this Valentine’s Day.

If you haven’t found your dream home yet, look out for these bonus features on your next home tour—maybe they’ll help you decide on your dream home!

A tree in the front yard

When we moved into our house decades ago, I wanted to take the tree out of the front yard. I’d heard stories of trees messing with the foundation and since the tree was pretty close to the house, I just didn’t want to deal with any of that.

But we sort of forgot about it for a while and, when our kids got big enough, we put a tire swing on the tree and our kids loved it. Of course, we couldn’t possibly take the tree out then.

Years passed and I actually loved watching the tree grow and change colors with the seasons. Recently, we did have some issues with the roots reaching the house and we had to get the tree taken out. Yes, it was a hassle, but I’m so glad we kept the tree all those years, it was absolutely worth it. – Bill Ford, Irvine, CA

A soaking tub

We bought a house where the master suite had a big soaking tub and one tiny shower. I’ve always been a shower kind of woman, so I was a little peeved that I didn’t get what I’d asked for. Still, we decided we’d just renovate the bathroom to put a nicer shower where the tub was.

Long story short, we didn’t end up doing that. As it turned out, the tub ended up being one of my favorite things about the entire house. Taking a bath made for a great reward for getting the kids to bed (and it really helped my always-sore back). It was something I didn’t want, didn’t need, but ended up loving. Go figure. – Jennifer Davis, St. Louis, MO

A wet bar

Our house has a wet bar complete with a minifridge in the living room. When we moved in, we thought it was a waste of space, especially since we weren’t big drinkers. At first we wanted to tear it out and replace it with some storage.

I ended up getting some nice glassware and put a couple of cute bar signs on the shelves above. It turns out that we do keep a fair amount of alcohol in the house, and putting the bottles in the bar freed up some good space in the kitchen. We also ended up storing sodas and water bottles in the minifridge, and we loved being able to grab a drink without going too far from the couch. We just needed to dress it up and make it our own. – Liz Mullens, Brea, CA

Lots of lights

When we bought our home, I remember someone telling us to check all the lights to make sure they work. My husband and I went around the house and made sure everything turned on and, while I did notice that there seemed to be a lot of lights for such a small place, I didn’t think much of it.

Now that we’ve been living here for about a year, I have to say that all those lights are probably one of my favorite parts of the house. Of course, there are enough lights to keep the house feeling bright, but there are also a lot of lighting options so it’s perfect for any mood or time of day.

There are lights under the cabinets in the kitchen dim enough so that the living room can be dark enough for movie watching, but bright enough to grab stuff from the kitchen. There’s also a hanging light fixture over the kitchen table that’s in just the right spot so it’s not too bright during dinner. There are also lights over the couch, and over the doorway. … Plus, almost every switch has a dimmer. – Cassidy Carr, Provo, UT

Two living rooms

When we bought our place, I thought the floor plan was a little weird. The kitchen was in the middle of the house with a living room on one side of it and on the other side was supposed to be a dining room. Being a young couple who usually eat dinner in front of the TV, we knew we were probably never going to use a dining room, so we made that room a second living room.

I guess the previous owners felt the same way because they had cabinets and a TV hookup in both rooms already. While we thought it was awkward when we first moved in, those two living rooms ended up being my favorite feature of the house. When my wife has her grad school friends over, they study together in one room and I can be in the other living room doing my own thing. – Jesse Buckenberger, State College, PA

A covered patio

When we were looking for houses, it was really important for us to have a big, grassy backyard. We have three dogs, so we knew we wanted the space.

So, whenever my wife and I toured a house, we would always make sure to spend a good amount of time walking around the yard. I was always most concerned about the size of it, but when we chose the house we live in now, my wife said she really liked it because of the covered patio. I honestly hadn’t even noticed the patio before because I was so busy looking at everything else, but now that we live here, it’s my favorite thing. We sit out there for hours reading or just talking as we watch the dogs run around. – Sean Lee, San Luis Obispo, CA

The post Home Buyers Reveal: ‘The One Surprising Feature I Love Most About My Home’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

What Is a ‘Gentleman’s Farm’? A Gardener’s Paradise, With One Catch

August 3, 2018


What is a “gentleman’s farm”? This term, which crops up in real estate listings, describes property where people farm just for fun rather than to make a living.

“The term ‘gentleman’s farm’ dates back to the 19th century, when retired sea captains and shipping agents returned to Nantucket and started their own farms and dairies,” explains Mark Quindoy, a real estate agent with eXp Realty, in San Diego. “It’s merely a gentleman who farms for pleasure, not for profit or survival.”

Pull up an episode of the 1960s TV show “Green Acres,” starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, and you’ll get the picture of this agricultural pursuit portrayed as a merry pastime, rather than a make-or-break grind where you battle locust swarms, blight, and other problems. Farming can be a good time!

‘Gentleman’s farm’ and the tax implications

Gentleman’s farms are often lumped together with hobby farms—pleasure farms that aren’t necessarily on a big piece of property, but may literally be in your backyard. It’s often part of a larger estate, notes Christy Murdock Edgar, a real estate agent in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC.

“Farming in this context might include raising fruits or vegetables, maintaining an orchard, or raising poultry or livestock,” she says. What you do on your gentleman’s farm is up to you. Grow lavender! Snuggle pygmy goats! Tend to pumpkins!

Just keep in mind that even if you’re not pulling in cash, your taxes may be affected.

“Buying a hobby farm will have different implications depending on the state you live in and the size of your property,” explains Barry Richards, a broker with the EXIT Realty Garden Gate Team, in White House, TN.

For instance, in much of Kentucky, any property that’s 10 acres or more automatically qualifies for agriculture tax exemptions. Richards cautions that county tax assessors do take steps to verify that you’re actually farming.

In Tennessee, on the other hand, a seller is assessed a rollback tax if a property that’s previously been used for agricultural purposes is removed from the greenbelt. That means if you’re buying a working farm with a plan to maintain it only for your amusement and not for profit, the tax burden may be passed on to you in the purchase contract, notes Richards.

So before you commit to this pastime, educate yourself on the specific issues facing agricultural property in your state, and consult a tax professional.

Should you buy a gentleman’s farm?

Charmed by the idea of working the land on the weekends? That’s understandable, but just know it’s still a lot of work.

Case in point: Michael Dinich, a retirement and tax adviser at YourMoneyMatters, grew up watching reruns of “Green Acres.”

“I thought farming would be fun,” he says.

Since buying his own hobby farm, he’s learned a few things: Frost kills plants. Fences can take all day to repair. It’s tough to find homes for all the organic, free-range eggs your chickens lay. And if you think it’s tricky finding someone to take care of your dog when you go out of town on vacation, imagine finding someone to watch your farm.

“It’s easy to romanticize the farm life,” says Dinich. “There’s a whole cottage industry that makes their money on selling the hobby farm dream.”

Gentlemen and women, purchase your own green acres with caution.

The post What Is a ‘Gentleman’s Farm’? A Gardener’s Paradise, With One Catch appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.