In your opinion, what renovations/additions add the most value to a home, earning buyers a better potential return on their investments?
For high end luxury real estate, such as the homes that Kathy Doyle Estates represents, there a few different renovations and additions that will definitely add more value. First of all, a top of the line, up to date kitchen is a must for those looking to sell their home for top dollar. Most buyers want a sub-zero refrigerator, excellent water filter system, gas range stove, dishwasher, and love special upgrades in the kitchen such as a trash compactor and center island with second sink or pizza oven. Another great addition to homes with large lots are pools and guest houses. This allows for the owner to entertain and have guests for the weekend, without having them in the main house the whole time, or for long-term guests and extended family residents. Hot tubs, Saunas and workout rooms are also a terrific upgrade for any high end home.
What would you consider to be the biggest “must have” that clients are seeking in homes in your area?
In Malibu the biggest “must have” is a fantastic view, while in Beverly Hills it is a large lot with pool. New kitchens, bathrooms and fixtures are in high demand: and a finished home is what everyone is looking for. For my clients making these investments in a new home, the last thing they want is a major remodel in their near future. What they want is a turn-key, ready to live in home. Often they will even purchase furniture so that they can move right in. Now keep in mind as a potential seller, that if you are making a major remodel on a home, hoping to add value, you need expert advice by industry leaders. Don’t personalize your home so much that it wouldn’t work for other buyers.
In recent years, the trend of buying “green” luxury homes has grown tremendously. Is there a demand for green homes in your area? If so, has that changed the landscape of your market?
In Malibu people love homes that utilize the natural light and let in the beautiful views of our scenic coastline. Green materials and energy saving additions are definitely desired in this area. Native plants that can live without constant watering are also very popular. The modern eco-designs fit in fabulously with the Malibu aesthetic and lifestyle. While this movement isn’t as prevalent in Beverly Hills, there are still plenty of homeowners upgrading their properties and changing their appliances in order to leave a smaller footprint on the world. One of the benefits of the recession was that people became more efficient in their energy consumption. In a large home, simple changes of habit can make a huge difference in your monthly utility bill.
What is the number one avoidable mistake that many homebuyers make, and what approach would you recommend to overcome/ prevent it?
The biggest mistake buyers can make is not doing their due diligence and inspections on a property. It is absolutely imperative that you make yourself aware of all the potential issues with the property so you can budget future repairs. Spend the extra resources on lots of inspections and become aware of all possible plumbing, roof, sewer, fireplace, electrical, seismic, and foundation issues. If you are interested in doing major remodels or adding to the home, make sure to do your research on the processes for local permitting and property development.
Granite and stainless steel have always been big selling points for those who seek the perfect kitchen. Do you predict that this trend will change in years to come? If so, what will trendy kitchens of the future look like?
The kitchen is no longer something to be hidden away behind closed doors, but has become the center of a home. Families gather and entertain from the kitchen, so having an up to date, fabulous kitchen is certainly important. Trends in kitchens are moving towards eco-friendly, high tech, and colorful. Ergonomic design provides much needed functionality. Recycled materials are being utilized more and more in the kitchen, from cutting board countertops to floors and cabinets and low-water use dishwashers. High tech accessories are also on the rise, with LCD TVs on stove hoods, to retractable gas stovetops the kitchen of the future is here. A new trend of the moment is moving away from monochromatic kitchens and towards warm, inviting kitchens with pops of color!