I would have to admit, when my family had one there was a lot of room for storage, on the ground level, had a nook under the stairs for storing lawn or garden supplies, as well as a mud room off the garage, same area had the washer and drier hidden away; there was a full attic where it could be walked into and stood in for a tall person. My family had put in themselves an attic vent, so that you could expel any additional heat in the home so that if had central air could cool faster, must have all windows open for venting.
Another reason why it takes longer for those homes to sell is because the property value is higher for these complete homes. If you look at the market, these homes are priced more expensive and could also effect property taxes to where it could price people out of the house. I personally would like to own one if it was in my budget. On the other hand, ranch style homes are easier to to get into, and out of.
Having said that, here in Northern Virginia (just a Jeanne said regarding New Jersey) colonials are definitely the most popular. Ranches and Cape Cods are also pretty popular. Split foyers (in which you enter a home, and immediately must go either up or down) are less popular.
Even within particular styles, there can be a lot of variation. For instance, a lot of Capes were built with unfinished upper levels. I've seen some very nicely done (for instance, a bedroom at either end, and a bath added in the middle, usually at the rear of the house). And I've seen some very poorly done (for instance, the stairs lead up to one end of the upper level, and two bedrooms were constructed...but you have to walk through one to get to the other, and no bath was added to the upper level). So, beyond the specific style, look for functionality.
Also--and particularly because you raised the point about getting "stuck" in something--watch out for anything that's real trendy today. If it's a trend today, it probably won't be tomorrow. For example: A large master bath is nice. But I've seen people take the small bedroom in a 3/2 rambler and convert it entirely into a humongous bath with jacuzzi. Or--and this may be heresy--granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are so trendy right now that I'd bet in 10 years they'll "mark" a home as having been built in 2005-2009. Just like Harvest Gold appliances mark a home as having been built a couple decades ago. It's the same as with kids' names: "Jason" and "Britney" are popular names (or were a few years ago), but in 15 years someone named "Jason" or "Britney" will be pretty much pegged into a narrow slot, chronologically.
So, in general, look for things that have been time-tested. Then look at major trends (for instance, larger kitchens). Then, be cautious of anything that's become hyper-popular in just the past couple of years.
However, you do have to be happy and comfortable with anything you buy. So, don't "settle" for a not-so-nice colonial if you see a fabulous split that offers everything you're looking for. But--addressing your specific question--do keep in mind the difference between items of proven value and appeal, and items that are out of favor, or have a good chance of falling out of favor.
Hope that helps.
I would say that your instincts are spot on - evaluate the home based on what you like, what you can afford, location desirability, and understand that the style of the home may impact the time it will take to sell it in the future. But if it is a style that is common in the area, it will be an easier sale than if it is an uncommon style in the community.
Good luck to you!
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