It’s easy to fall in love with certain features of a home; but often you’ll find those same features, in the long run, are your least favorite. Here are a few common ‘extras’ and a quick assessment of their relative values.

Backyard Pool

If there is a quintessential luxury item for many around the country, it is having a swimming pool…especially in parts of the country where it can only be used about ten minutes per year! But here in the Valley of the Sun, pools are common place because of our summer heat.

Pool season typically runs from April through October without the need for a pool heater…and depending on your cool water tolerance, maybe March to November! If you have a heater, a pool in the Valley of the Sun can be used year-round. But, do you need a pool? A lot of transplants say they do because of the Arizona heat. Think about it carefully, because if you don’t think you’ll use it, you won’t want the work and the expense.

For: Houselogic suggests that having a pool can increase a property values by about 7% if it’s well maintained and suits the yard. If you live in a neighborhood where most of your neighbors have pools, not having a pool might make your home harder to sell. Add in the idea of kicking back all summer with a piña colada, sitting next to the lapping water with friends, and having a pool can be quite attractive. And rightfully so.

Against: Safety issues have not been blown out of proportion. Unfortunately, pool deaths happen all the time even with pool fences, there’s no getting around that. Pools can be expensive to maintain, even without hiring a pool company, and are a lot of work. As beautiful as a pool can be when it is maintained properly, it can be an eyesore if it is not. Depending on the size of the backyard, a pool can also limit other usable space for play or gardening. If you do have a pool heater that’s not solar, keep an eye on your gas or electric bill.

Assessment: The issues involved with owning a pool can be overcome, and many people enjoy having a pool very much. In fact, many people relocating to Arizona deem it an absolute necessity to help them adjust to our summer heat! If you want one, get a house with one, they are not hard to find! Just be prepared for the work and/or cost of upkeep, and make sure you use it to make it worthwhile! Make sure a pool inspection – conducted by a certified pool professional – is included in the purchase process.

Dream Kitchen

Kitchens do cool things these days. Appliances paneled to look like cabinets, an extra tap above the stove for filling large pots of water, $15,000 pounded-copper range hoods, and 460 different countertop materials… 

For:  Kitchens are finally being designed with maximum utility in mind. When shopping for a home, focus on the kitchen – it is where you will likely spend a great deal of your time, and the room in which every party tends to congregate. Before you fall in love with that Kohler faucet, however, analyze the kitchen’s layout from a purely utilitarian standpoint. Is the magic triangle of sink-stove-fridge arranged conveniently? Are cabinets and other storage in logical places? Is there sufficient light? And most importantly, is this a space you will feel comfortable and happy in? Don’t underestimate the importance of a functional and attractive kitchen.

Against: Be careful not to fall in love with the impermanent fixtures in a kitchen. While those glass-front, backlit uppers may brilliantly display the seller’s Royal Daulton bone china, will your mixed collection of garage sale Melmac have the same effect? Likewise, if your idea of cooking is heating up last night’s pizza, perhaps space would be better used elsewhere.  

Assessment:  The kitchen is the hub of virtually any home. Don’t underestimate its importance.

Activity Rooms

This is an overly broad categorization, of course, but activity rooms like workshops, games rooms, and exercise rooms tend to hold common appeal – and common drawbacks.

For: Having the right setup for a particular activity can be inspiring. Having a single power tool in each room of your house and each corner of the garage and shed is not exactly the ideal situation for building that crib you started for your daughter and are determined to finish before the birth of you granddaughter. Likewise, if you have the latest elliptical trainer and weight set in a room next to your bedroom with a 72” LED TV facing it, perhaps you will find that six-pack after all.

Against: If you can’t use a hammer, all of the tools in the world will not give you that knowledge. If you haven’t lifted anything heavier than a handful of pork rinds in the last decade, a workout room will likely soon become just a TV room with uncomfortable seating. Unreasonable expectations usually develop into unreasonable decisions.

Assessment: Your home should inspire you and will, to a certain extent, dictate your lifestyle. Be rational in your decisions, however, and aim for versatility rather than rooms that are locked in to a particular use that may not be as useful in the future.

The Bottom Line

With all of your dream home features, try to let reason prevail. You may absolutely worship the tumbled marble rainforest shower with the heated towel rack, but it will be of little comfort every morning and night when you are cursing the home’s lack of closet space. It is often the most boring attributes of a home that will give you the most pleasure. 

Now, I’m off to luxuriate in my rainforest shower. I had to take out the bedroom to install it, but that’s okay, I don’t mind sleeping in the kitchen…granite countertops are surprisingly comfy! 

Contact the Donnelly Group Today

If are looking for your dream home, email or call the Donnelly Group today at 480-792-9700. We will work to help you find your perfect home with the features you need, want, and dream of…and give you some direction if you are dead set on that basement waterfall and grotto!