I still remember when my wife and I were shopping for our first house. After spending some time at a friend’s house we would be in the car driving back to our apartment discussing what we liked about their house and what we didn’t like. How much is too much space? How big of a yard do we really need? What kind of finishes would look great? Can we deal with a master bedroom that faces north and would be the coldest room in the house?
The one thing that we completely agreed on was that most of the new developer-built homes offered on the market were not really us. They always seem to have a Disney-esque feel about them, with their perfectly manicured yards, the ornate neo-traditional trim everywhere, and what we felt was a vanilla interior that wreaked of beige and off-beige. We knew even if we were the first people to live in a particular house we would do some kind of renovation to it in order to give the home some of our personality.
There’s an article in Architectural Record about a condominium project where some of the new residents of the building were modifying the new construction to better fuse their personalities into their new abode. I can definitely sympathize with these people. The top three rules in real estate are location, location, and location, and that is the driving force for most people selecting a new home. You can find the perfect new home but if it’s not what you consider to be an acceptable location (i.e. close proximity to work, within the right school district, close to family, not far away enough from family) then more likely than not you’ll by-pass the opportunity to purchase the home.
This article also mentions how a project in New York consisted of empty boxes and essentially allowed the buyers of the new condo units to bring in their own architects and interior designers to create a customized space. This strategy of creating empty boxes would help developers save money constructing homes that didn’t have to be finished, and home buyers would be able to save money by not having to pay for finishes and other items that would be removed anyways.
The empty box home allows a more inexpensive option for home buyers, a way to reduce waste created through renovation, create a way for builders and developers to save money constructing a house, and the ability for your home to be more attuned with your lifestyle.