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Home with staircase!

kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
I am looking to buy a hillside home on a sloping lot. Now the house is great. I like everything in the house.
The house faces a view of distant mountains, trees (Both storeys has balconies). It has a bedroom and full bath on the main floor... good amount of windows, cherry hardwood floors, granite counter tops, decent sized yard at the back, etc.

But the house has the garage under the main floor with 30 steps leading to the kitchen. It also has about 25 steps leading up to front door from the street.

How bad is the steps thing? Would it really hurt when it comes to resale?
Any advice much appreciated.
Ray Marsh
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Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
It will definitely be a negative for some people. Older folks, people with ambulatory problems, small children etc. For a healthy person, it may not be an issue at all, in fact the other benefits will make it very attractive. It does narrow down the potential customer base.

I like the idea of making it hard for solicitors to knock on my door. I'd smile just thinking of all the steps they'll climb just to be disappointed!


Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength. – Charles Spurgeon
Jayesh Lalwani
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Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Is this in US?? (I have never heard of balconies in US)

I dont know about India, but if it's in US, I think you need to check how the other houses in the area are like. If you are worried about resale, then your house should'nt be the exception in the area. The only exception to this rule is if you are looking in a location that is filled with ultra-high scale, multi-million dollar mansions. In that case, you want your house to be differrent than the others
kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
This is in the States. In fact I have seen a lot of hillside homes here that have elaborate balconies all around the circumference.

In the community that this home is in, about 70% of the homes are on level lots. They do not have steps, but neither do they have a view. This house is not an exception in that community, but it is certainly one among the few that have steps.

And no, this is not an "ultra-high scale, multi-million dollar mansion". If I could afford one, then, resale is not something I think I would be bothered about!
[ November 18, 2004: Message edited by: kayal cox ]
Jayesh Lalwani
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Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Balconies all around the house?? wow.. Where do you live? I want to move there
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Does it hurt resale value?

Ask yourself if the price seems low for a house that size in that area and in a similar state of maintenance with a similar lot around it.

If the answer is yes then the stairs have something to do with it maybe. But when you resell it later you'll take the same penalty you're now profiting from so it shouldn't matter.

Of course if you're looking in having it built new that's not an option

But stairs should be no problem. Or are Americans now so lazy they refuse to take the stairs to the other floors even in their own homes?
If so you can always get an elevator installed and be the envy of the neighourhood (as well as penniless but nothing comes free).


42
Ray Marsh
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Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
...are Americans now so lazy they refuse to take the stairs to the other floors even in their own homes?...


I'm trying to find an extendable walkway that will make it possible to get from my car to the house without standing up!

As far as Americans being lazy, I'm still surprised to see the labor saving machines available.

My son was asking me to by a leaf vacuum to remove the leaves from our yard. I took the oportunity to teach him about sweat -vs- money. Lets see... a $300 machine that will save me... maybe 10 hours a year and take up space in my crowded shed and add one more thing to keep in good repair.

It just don't add up. A little hard work never hurt anyone, my Dad always told me. That's easy for him to say... he's retired!
Jayesh Lalwani
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Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Does it hurt resale value?
Or are Americans now so lazy they refuse to take the stairs to the other floors even in their own homes?


Actually, I'm not an American, and I bought a townhouse near DC, and I'm tired of going up and down the stairs. So, even if people are lazy, it's not just Americans. I have to organize myself to minimize going up and down the stairs. I would like to have a rambler type of house with a yard someday
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Think of this... how will you get up those 30 steps if you break your leg? 30 steps seems like a lot to me. That is more than twice as many in a typcial stairs.


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Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24166
    
  30

Yes, that's very long. Imagine if a bag of groceries breaks on the way up. Imagine if you buy a piano. Imagine if you've got a toddler and a baby. Imagine if you're a 67 year old woman with osteoporosis. It has nothing to do with laziness -- a lot of people, young and old, simply couldn't live in a house like that. And that does, indeed, hold down your potential sale price, if only because it may take longer to find a buyer who can live with the stairs.


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by kayal cox:
I am looking to buy a hillside home on a sloping lot. Now the house is great. I like everything in the house.
The house faces a view of distant mountains, trees (Both storeys has balconies). It has a bedroom and full bath on the main floor... good amount of windows, cherry hardwood floors, granite counter tops, decent sized yard at the back, etc.

But the house has the garage under the main floor with 30 steps leading to the kitchen. It also has about 25 steps leading up to front door from the street.

How bad is the steps thing? Would it really hurt when it comes to resale?
Any advice much appreciated.


Man, I am jealous!!! You touched my raw nerve...
Someday, I wish I could buy house of my own!!! Having sth like you mentioned will be more than a dream come true.

- Manish
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Oh, BTW I don't mind a home with staircase!

- Manish
kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Sigh! I am so confused now!
This house is just under construction, and all the houses adjacent to mine with similar steps have all sold off. In fact, all these homes have a higher than average lot premium because of the view they offer.

I drove all around the city to see other homes that have steps, and yes, lots of them do. There are houses with long flights of staircases located on hill sides.

The only thing that I can see in defense of these stairs are, there are landings once every ten steps.

I like everything inside the home, the plan is great, the schools are excellent, but I am so confused, I don't know what to. I am worried that I might not find a home with all these features in this price range! And the reason we would get it cheap is because we kinda paid a token advance quite some time back to lock the price.
peter wooster
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by kayal cox:
This is in the States. In fact I have seen a lot of hillside homes here that have elaborate balconies all around the circumference.


Do you get snow and ice in your area? If so those steps will be quite exciting in the winter.
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Install an elevator. I know of people to do this in a home. In some states you can get money back from the government for making the house handicap-accessible.


A good workman is known by his tools.
Stan James
(instanceof Sidekick)
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Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 8791
If it's common for the area I might not worry too much about the value impact. But 25 steps with every bag of groceries would wear me out. My old house had the garage immediately accessed from the kitchen, pretty common layout. My current one has one flight of stairs and I think it's a burden for groceries. Maybe we should go more often and buy smaller lots!


A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi
Ray Marsh
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Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
Originally posted by kayal cox:
Sigh! I am so confused now!


You're original question dealt with re-sale value. That is only one factor in buying a house and your intentions for the house will make that factor larger or smaller. If you intend to live there forever, then who cares? If you plan to sell in 5 years it becomes more important.

Most every house has a trade-off. Pros and Cons. The view, the balconies to enjoy the view, the house itself. All pros. The stairs a con. There are many factors to consider in a house and everyone places different priorities on them. It all depends on how the equation works for you and the people that will live there.
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Here ya go, yours for only $2711.


[ November 19, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Where I live, it rains pretty frequently, but snow and ice is just one or two days in a year (when the entire city comes to a standstill anyway )
I am planning to live in that house for atleast about 10 years.

I don't have kids now, but they are certainly in the picture a few years from now. I am thinking it would be really bad to lug bags of groceries, a screaming kid, and other assorted kid stuff like a stroller or something up and down.

Ray, what you are saying is right. The stairs are the only con in this home. And if it were just us, I think we would go ahead with the home. I mean, I think I would put up with the discomfort of the staircase for the opportunity to see the sun set every day. But all my friends, and other people who see the house, immediately exclaim "Oh gosh! why did you pick a house like this..?" And that led me to wonder, if I am making a mistake, getting blinded by the pros.

And I was just speaking to some colleagues, and some of them were like, "Forget the staircase, is this a good time to buy a home at all"... interest rate going up, housing bubble popping etc.

Maybe I should just continue to rent

And thanks Jason, for your post. Every time I think about this house thing, I am sunk in this sea of confusion and misery. That's the first thing that has made me smile. I really ought to check out the cost of getting it installed
[ November 19, 2004: Message edited by: kayal cox ]
peter wooster
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by kayal cox:
And thanks Jason, for your post. Every time I think about this house thing, I am sunk in this sea of confusion and misery. That's the first thing that has made me smile. I really ought to check out the cost of getting it installed

[ November 19, 2004: Message edited by: kayal cox ][/QB]


There was a house near us when I lived in Toronto near High Park that had about 100 steps down to their parking. They installed a small inclined railway to get from the garage to the house. It looked a bit like what Jason posted on steroids. It had seating for 2 and a convertable top. It added about $100,000 to the value of the house. I'm sure it cost a lot to install.
Jayesh Lalwani
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Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
If you are going to stay in that house for long, I would say dont worry about resale value too much. Real Estate is one of the most stable investment vehicles.

Besides, think about how much loss you are incurring by a) paying rent, b) the houses appreciating while you are looking and c) increasing mortgage rates. When I was looking for a house, we had this idea of getting a SFH for 300K. We found townhouses for 300-330K. This area that we particularily liked had townhouses for 320K. Anyways, we kept looking for 6 more months, finally gave up and bought the townhouse we like for 370K

I think what's more important when buying a house is how much value you are going to get from the house. Does the house meet your needs? Are you going to enjoy the house? Does it have enough space for your family to grow? What;s the area like? Is it going to be too much to maintain? All houses appreciate. If you keep thinking about resale value too much you will get into a buyer's quandry. By hoping for getting something better, you will end up with nothing.

And dont get me started on buyer's remorse. That's even worse than buyer's quandry
Warren Dew
blacksmith
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Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Posts: 1332
    
    1
kayal cox:

How bad is the steps thing? Would it really hurt when it comes to resale?
Any advice much appreciated.


I own a two family house (common in this area); I used to live on the first floor apartment, about 8 steps up from the street, now I live in the second/third floor apartment, about 25 steps up from the street (part of which is inside, though).

I've found that I actually prefer the extra steps; in today's car bound society, any extra exercise is a benefit, not a cost. It adds a little bit of a hassle to getting groceries, but not that much. The piano was a bit of a hassle, but that only happens once. No kids yet, though.

From the standpoint of resale value, I'd think that the view would far outweigh the extra steps. I'd love to have a view like the one you are describing.
[ November 20, 2004: Message edited by: Warren Dew ]
Bert Bates
author
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8764
    
    5
I like the elevator idea... how about a funicular?

I think the real advice is: Can you afford to have the house on the market for a long time when you're ready to sell?


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
John Smith
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Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
The price of the house with 30 steps is probably discounted because not many people would consider it. Suppose in 5 years from now, the home prices in the neighborhood appreciate by 25%. While it's true that the 30-step home may have less prospective buyers than the other homes, the market price for it would likely to increase by the same 25% as the other homes in the neighborhood. Think of it this way: in 5 years from now, people will dislike the 30 steps with about the same intensity as they do now, and therefore you don't risk much in terms of potential value, but you do risk the low liquidity (i.e, it will take longer to sell).
Pat Davis
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Joined: Nov 08, 2004
Posts: 47
i would check into its sales history, talk with agent, do some comparison......

since relocation is possible. all houses will be for sale eventually, some may have to go rental first. so you may also want to check into rental market.

advice from the proud owner of 8 bedrooms and 5 1/2 bathrooms from both blue and red states


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kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Hi folks,

Thanks for all the ideas, suggestions and opinions. To answer the last couple of questions; No, I don't see a situation where I would need to sell the house in a hurry, so I am sure I would be able to keep it on the market for sometime.

And I think we would go for a funicular if any of us break a leg or something.. And till then, we are just going to consider it good exercise. After all, people spend money to go a gym and use the Stepper or whatever it's name is..!
It might be a pain navigating the stairs, but we are willing to take that chance.

Basically we have decided to go for it, and what clinched it was the couple of hours that my husband and I spent, perched on an unfinished balcony looking at a red sky, as a blazing sun disappeared behind the distant mountains.
[ November 22, 2004: Message edited by: kayal cox ]
Jayesh Lalwani
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Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Congrats kayal!!! Enjoy your new home. How long till it's going to be ready?

And for the record, I'm jealous
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Best of luck Kayal! My first 4 homes that I decided to buy someone else beat me to. Number 5 was my lucky number. I hope your lucky number is 1.

by the way... When is the housewarming party?
kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
It wil be ready in Feb 2005. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!
It is awesome to look at the house get built step by step. And I am so looking forward to the experience of evaluating furnishings, fixtures, window treatments, etc etc
Ray Marsh
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Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
We want to see pictures!
Glen Tanner
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Joined: Apr 16, 1999
Posts: 147

Kayal,
When thinking about resale value, you have to think about what you would do. You're looking at this house and you're willing to overlook the stair thing. A potential buyer will most likely do the same. But, you may want to check if it meets building code for your area. Other than that, have fun in your new home!
[ November 22, 2004: Message edited by: Glen Tanner ]
Alan Wanwierd
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Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Posts: 624
C'mon guys - THINK like an agent!!

"rare oportunity to buy... ...charming stone steps(or wooden staircase as the case may be), leading to grand entrance front door... ...stunning balcony sunset views.... character home"

etc etc etc... Surely the steps can be made into a selling point! - From what you've said so far it sound like a great place - steps could only add to the character!
kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:
C'mon guys - THINK like an agent!!

"rare oportunity to buy... ...charming stone steps(or wooden staircase as the case may be), leading to grand entrance front door... ...stunning balcony sunset views.... character home"

etc etc etc... Surely the steps can be made into a selling point! - From what you've said so far it sound like a great place - steps could only add to the character!


We're techies, not salesmen.
If we were we'd hardly be on a Java site, we'd be visiting corporate websites trying to think up the next salespitch and finding nice congresses to go to to promote our products
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Posts: 13974
This coffee tastes like dirt and stinks...

Marketing Department: A coffee that is earthy and aromatic.
Ray Marsh
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Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
A coffee that is earthy and aromatic.


mmmmmm Coffee!
 
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