Looking for the Cane in the Corner

Miracle on 34th Street is one of my favorite holiday movies. Christmas, Santa, NYC, great coats and a dream about a house! Does it get any better? Add in an apartment that has a view of the Macy’s Day Parade. Wow! I grew up in the suburbs so I always dreamed the opposite, an apartment in a high-rise with a view, a doorman, a butler and maybe a chance to play in THE park. The butler was actually from watching Family Affair!

I am not sure how many times I have seen this movie but it is always still exciting to see her run in the house and find the cane. It is a sign that her dream came true. It is her house. It was meant to be.

Sign of a “Dream House”

Wouldn’t it be great if all houses had a sign that this was the perfect choice? Often they do, with a great location, perfect floor plan a kitchen that works well, a spacious yard and a price that fits. Sometimes that sign can be elusive. There are more questions than answers: it might work if we add a family room? It could work if the kitchen was redone? Would it be perfect with a master suite? If it only had a bigger garage with mudroom!

I am often called by prospective clients who are deciding whether to buy a home that requires a renovation either small or whole home to make it work. Sometimes it is an easy answer, “Yes you have enough space to reconfigure the kitchen and it will work. Let’s design it!” Other times it is complicated and needs thoughtful design drawings to see if makes sense. If they already own the house, love the neighborhood, and the addition will make their home function better, the fee to develop a design makes sense too. You never know until you see the possibilities.

Sometimes the answer to buy or not hinges on what can be added or changed. I always recommend that clients step back and dream about what their perfect home would be and make a list. How far is the list from what is there? Our neighborhood is filled with well-built homes over 50 years old from another era long before jetted tubs, SUV’s and backpacks. Compared to new houses with tall ceilings, open plans and three car garages it can be tricky to transform these existing homes to compete with a new home. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense.

When dreaming about the home if the “perfect list” is very extensive it may not make sense. The second step would be where is the perfect house and is that where you want to live? Prioritize what are the most important spaces or features you need. Also create a list of why you are considering the home to buy, what features drew you to it? Comparing the lists side by side might give you the answers you need. With lists in hand, that cane just might appear in a corner to let you know this home is for you!


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