What is better, buy a new house in a small lot, or a relative old house on a bigger lot in KB and then remodel ?

Asked by JCG, Key Biscayne, FL Thu Aug 26, 2010

There arre several new homes available in Key Biscayne, two story mansions, in the 1.5-2M range, but located in relative small lots compared to the house (7500 sqft)
In the same range you may find a bigger lot (12500 sqft) with an old house that will surely need a renovation. Assuming the final cost is similar, which situation would you favor ?

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Scott Miller, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Fri Aug 27, 2010
Hi JCG. Great question and buyers do ask this all of the time, regardless of where they're buying. Is this home for you or to buy, fix and sell?

Overall, in my experience, 'new' always outsells 'old'. BUT, 'new' also includes buying an older, architecturally beautiful home and rehabilitating the interior. I've been reading for the last two years now that mega-mansions are on their way out, polls published say that most buyers want smaller and more intimate, not bigger and more sterile. We can definitely get by with less square footage and bigger yards.

I like the idea of buying a beautiful home on large lot and completely rehabbing the interior. I think a buyer that has good taste and appreciates a renovation done well, will know this when it's time for you to sell. Make sure you max out your kitchen with high end appliances if possible. Viking, Miele, Wolf, Fisher Paykel are all top brands to install.

GOOD LUCK and let us know which home you wind up buying!

Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
1 vote
Jill Olcott, , Miami Beach, FL
Tue Nov 16, 2010
Hello JCG,
I live and work on Key Biscayne, and I can honestly say that it depends on the house, and your wants and needs. Feel free to contact me for a consultation.
Warm regards,

Jill Olcott
0 votes
Jeff Kloenne, , Parker, CO
Wed Sep 29, 2010
When the next market boom happens (and it will) the land will be worth more than the house. I grew up in Miami and the older houses were built solid, survived many hurricanes.
Go for the lot size!
0 votes
John Paul Ro…, Agent, Key Biscayne, FL
Wed Sep 29, 2010
Key Biscayne is a small exclusive island off the coast of Miami. The City is one square mile on a six square mile island surrounded by parks and a beach. Land is what you should be looking for when you buy. A corner lot with 10,000 Square Feet of land and up allows you, or the person that buys from you, to maximize construction under the zoning code for the island. Builders know this and are seeking such large corner lots. This makes your home not just a home, but an investment.
0 votes
Mott Marvin…, Agent, Sunny Isles Beach, FL
Mon Aug 30, 2010
I would go for the older home on a larger lot. There are many things to take into consideration- but all in all it seems like you'll be geting more bang for the buck. Older homes typically have more charm and character- but are often functionally obsolete in some way or another. If you have the time and resources to renovate and remodel- go with it.
0 votes
Ivan, , Miami, FL
Fri Aug 27, 2010
Dear JCG,

As an investor and home owner, I've always been a fan of buying the biggest lot possible with a home that has good 'bones'...meaning the structure is sound and the layout is functional for your planned use and for tomorrow's homebuyer.
If you're up for the challenges of a renovation, then that would be my recommendation on Key Biscayne. As you know there's no 'new' land or home developments on key biscayne and that's what's really of high value...and will continue to be highly valued in the future.
The house can be done to suit you're tastes and take into account design and home buyer trends (thinking of resale) and not buy something that will have to remodeled anyway to make it marketable 5+ years down the road.
If you need any help locating, negotiating, rehabbing, or marketing a property on the Key, please email or call me at your convenience.
0 votes
Maggie Hawk, Agent, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Fri Aug 27, 2010
What I would look at first is the location of the two homes. Are the locations comparable, or is one in a better location?

I would also consider whether a home is "overimproved" for its surrounding neighborhood. If that's the case, the lower-priced homes nearby could drag your property value down.

If the locations are comparable, and the home is not a "white elephant", then I'd probably go with the older home on the bigger lot, since, as you say, you can renovate (or restore) the older home.

One added note here. Trulia recently reported the results of a survey of home Buyers that showed people moving away from the big McMansions and toward smaller homes. Just something to keep in mind, since you should always consider resale when you buy.

Of course, a large part of a decision like this is personal preference. I grew up in a 1910 house on a large lot, and I have always liked older homes and bigger lots. But that's just me. The real question is "What do YOU like?"

Buying a house is a bit like falling in love. When you find the right one, you'll know it. Good luck with your home search.

Warm regards,
Maggie Hawk, REALTOR
(386) 314-1149
Watson Realty Corp.

0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Fri Aug 27, 2010

The reality of purchasing an older home and renovating it is that after it's all said and done and you have invested tens of thousands of dollars, you still hav an older home.....one that still has many of the older home characteristice, lower ceilings, floor plans, etc. and they are more expensive to insure.

Our recommendation is to seek a newer home in a community the features larger lots and enjoy the best of all worlds.

Good luck,

0 votes
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