What I Want to See From Developers

What I would love to see in new construction and renovated homes.


At the youthful age of 25, I know I'm no developer. But that doesn't mean I don't have wants and needs for a new home or renovation I'll potentially buy in the future. This all came about this morning when I walked through a listing with a developer/client and listening to what his plans for the home were. 

The one thing I do know, is all non-renovated or new construction in the area is functionally obsolete. What do I mean by that? We have different needs now than we did in the early 1900's when a lot of these homes were built. 

For example, the formal dining room really isn't required for younger families. Sure I love going to Grandma's and sitting at the table with relatives but I don't need a separate room to serve food on high priced china I may use once in my lifetime. I want the open concept, eat in kitchen and entertainment space. I'll take the additional space over two areas that can serve the same function any day. I've heard stories of children growing up in homes where the dining room was completely off limits 364 days a year. 

For entertainment purposes, I don't need a family room/great room and a formal living room. I've been in several homes with additions where the TV is located and the owners keep a formal sitting area. In new construction this is not needed and not what I have seen. New construction provides us with a gas fireplace and outlets above for flat panel TVs. The rooms are consolidated and very efficient when it comes to saving space. 

Now, developers know all this of course and this is largely what I've seen myself. Large, open, floor plans and great use of the space. But here is something I want to start seeing in new homes, and that's wiring us for the future.

I already know I won't have a house phone. I will use my cell phone. People are already canceling their plans. But when I have an electrical outlet, I want to see slots for the typical 12 volt plugs, Ethernet Cable, Co-Ax cable, and USB cable. Why? Because we really don't know what the future holds. Wiring will be centered in a basement cabinet where outside lines enter the house. This isn't uncommon to see now either but it would be nice to see it already built into newly constructed homes instead of added later. The cabinet would essentially include a location for your internet and phone system, wireless router, server if you require one, cable access, etc.

As computers become smaller, more powerful, and more portable, it wouldn't surprise me to see the home office dwindle in size as well. While I think its still important to have a home base that features a printer/fax and scanner (hopefully an all in one), I would expect to see a lap top base in the kitchen area, and computer access to be done wirelessly at the living room coffee table. 

Lastly, I would love to see the home prepared for solar panels. In my personal opinion the technology is not cost effective yet, but I expect that to change pretty quickly moving forward. Saving money and helping the environment will go hand in hand if the house and sunlight allows it. 

Of course, this is all my opinion and everyone will have different needs. So I'm curious to see what everyone else requires and wants in their home. Let the discussion begin!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Maraith Smith February 17, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Great points and I disagree only in one area: the home office. More and more people are working from home either because they telecommute or travel often or have their own business. That means the office will need a file cabinet, bookcase, desk, and computer/cable hookups at a minimum. As we all live increasingly in cyberspace, we will need a physical space conducive to that.
Sonny Beaches February 17, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Sounds like you're describing a college dorm room Mike. In a few years you'll be amazed at how good some of those "functionally obsolete" spaces will look to you. In the interim you might want to invest in an iCloud enabled appliance (pad, phone, pro) and a couple of flat displays. Most of what you describe is already available, independent of the residential infrastructure. BTW: Extend my apologies to your "Grandma" on your behalf.
david brooks March 04, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Sonny Beaches always knows what he talking about....not Did the developer say he was planning on putting in granite, stainless, hardwood throughout and charging $600K for 1,200 sq ft with no yard? Seems to be the norm for Watertown these days. Whats up with the developers who did Winter Street behind the police station? Who is going to spend $619k and not get any grass to play in? For shame.
Mike DelRose Jr. March 05, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Well Sonny, this is why I'm not an electrician, or a developer for that matter. I'm simply someone who sees a lot of new construction and has his own opinions. But I'm curious too, please share your own thoughts on what makes the perfect home as that's why I wrote the article and all. As a REALTOR® that serves this community, it truly doesn't matter what I think unless I'm purchasing a property for myself.
Sonny Beaches March 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Mike I completely understand where you are coming from. As stated in your bio you are a marketer. That being said I am curious as to your target demographic. As your post appeared in the Watertown Patch I assume that you are Watertown area focused. If that is indeed the case the majority of "development" in the area is apartment construction, due to the current economic and financial situation and the scarcity of sites suitable for economically viable low density residential development. In any event there is no such thing as a "perfect home". If you have the time and inclination pick up an e-copy of Roberts Frank's "High Beta Rich". it is a cautionary tale regarding the quest for the perfect home. One's primary residence is just that, a place to reside, whether it be a single family, multi-family, condo or apartment. As are most things in life a residence is a compromise, based upon one's needs, wants and economic situation.
Mike DelRose Jr. March 05, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Excellent, I'll look to pick up a copy. In the meantime, the market here just became a little more intense which is expected moving into spring. That being said, its no where near as good as it was last year. We are seeing a lot of activity in the market from real estate developers. Not big projects, but single family, two family, and condominiums. This article is definitely pitched towards those professionals as well as the younger first time home buyer. Growing up with the birth of the internet and other great technology, we've seen how quickly things change (i.e. the cordless phone to no phone at all). So if anything, I'm just suggesting we look ahead to the next wave of housing. So while my Grandmother will never touch the computer sitting in her spare bedroom, she will look into advice on how to make her home more sale-able in the future.
Sonny Beaches March 05, 2012 at 05:37 PM
A couple of observations, first the "next wave of housing" will be cosmetic renovations of existing structures, i.e. kitchen and bath updates. Second it is highly doubtful that the over housed elderly will ever be receptive to pre-listing remodeling advice. In Watertown the arrival of dumpsters in driveways is always preceded by the departure of the procession from the church.
Mike DelRose Jr. March 05, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Yeah I agree with what you're saying. My overall point is that I personally want to see those updates in new construction. But yes, I'm seeing mostly cosmetic repairs followed by newer kitchens and baths. Because home owners do not get dollar for dollar in value, it doesn't make sense to put a lot of money into a home before selling unless you're a developer that knows what they're doing. We recommend to make only improvements that will help the value of your home such as cleaning carpets, painting, and staging, but that's another story.
Sonny Beaches March 05, 2012 at 07:06 PM
"We recommend to make only improvements that will help the value of your home such as cleaning carpets, painting, and staging, but that's another story." That sounds like a great idea for your next column in the Watertown Patch.


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