Active Rain November 14, 2010

Homeowner Mistake of the Week: Over-improving the Master Bedroom

I was out with buyers recently and we toured a home that was owned by architects who had done a complete renovation. Essentially, they took an 80’s era ranch and gutted the entire inside, improving it to 2000’s standards. The kitchen was ultra modern, there was now a den, and the master suite was to absolutely die for: a good sized bedroom, a sleek, modern master bath, and a walk in closet that had a built in cabinet system and room to dress. 

This was, for a medium sized ranch, the nicest master suite I had ever seen, and from a quality point of view, it was done right. I would eat Thanksgiving dinner in that closet. I would carve a turkey on that master bath. And I would sleep it off in that tub. I’m sure you get the picture. No corners were cut. 

Well, some corners were cut elsewhere. The enlargement to the master suite somehow made the 3rd bedroom into a small den with no closet, changing the home from a 3 bedroom to a 2 bedroom home. They did create a 3rd bedroom from an attic loft, but it was not the same- especially if a small child had to sleep there. My clients loved the house, but not for anything near asking price. And 7 months into being for sale, it sits  unsold.  The moral of the story: over-improving one area of a home at the expense of others can nullify the perceived gain. 3 bedroom homes get more money. Had the improvements not been at the expense of that 3rd bedroom on the main level, it would have been far prudent a move. 

However, these are not the only people who over improve the master suite. Last week I walked through a 4000 square foot colonial of recent vintage with a master suite that needed it’s own zip code. But the other bedrooms were crappy 10′ x 12′ boxes! What good is that? Can you sleep in the den or sunken family room? With home sizes trending down, oversizing master bedrooms is not a winning move. 

The sellers in the first house are now listing it as a rental because they can’t sell it as the price point they now have, and the holidays are coming. And the reason is simple: while the home is out of this world fabulous, people in that market area want a real 3rd bedroom. Even if one or two people were to live there, they still have to think of resale, and a 3rd bedroom does more for resale than a fabulous closet or bathroom can. 

What is it with people and these crazy master suites anyway? What do builders and home improvement contractors think we do in there anyway? Does anyone ever really use those huge jet tubs more than a few times a year? Is the master suite Madison Square Garden? Most people I know in one of these monstrosities are working too hard to pay the mortgage to enjoy what they are paying for. 

Don’t buy into the master bedroom hype! 


Master bedrooms are getting a little out of hand