If A Realtor Were To Build On Spec…

A recent article in the Phoenix Business Journal profiled several real estate agents building “spec” homes (speculative, built without a specific buyer) – in the middle of the worst housing market in history.  While it sounds crazy given the national abundance of housing, it may be surprising to learn that there is actually an acute shortage of homes, especially new ones, in certain price ranges.

Building on spec is a risky proposition for anyone, especially someone not accustomed to all the little details that can make or break a luxury home project.  Fortunately, Rusty’s spec referenced in the article hits the sweet spot and he knows the residential real estate industry inside and out.  I suspect his home will sell quickly.  It’s a manageable 5,000 SqFt. and will be priced right around $2m.

However, since you asked, if I were going to build a home I knew my clients would buy in an instant, here’s a list of what I would include.  Santa Barbara style architecture has always been an easy sell.  Its white walls and Spanish tiled roofs have broad appeal and have a casual, upscale charm.


1-  List for around $2 million and sell near that price.  Vacation home buyers can still enjoy all the benefits of a home here without the higher initial expense and overhead required by a larger estate.  Full-time residents tell me they rarely use the “luxuries” like home gyms and dedicated theater rooms.


2-  Approximately 5,000 square feet.  Less maintenance and overhead, but with space for guests or growing family.


3-  Four ensuite bedrooms.  His-and-hers amenities in the master bath.


4-  Second family room.  This versatile space can easily serve as a play area for children, entertaining area for visitors or just another place to relax and unwind.


5-  Mud room.  I’ve been hearing more and more buyers look for these small rooms off of the garage.  A room designed for practicality and often doubling as the laundry room, where one can drop jackets, shoes/boots and bags from a day’s adventure.  They’re extremely common in homes back east and in the cooler Northern states.


6-  Home office.  Whether the economic downturn has us working longer hours for our day job, or firing up our entrepreneurial spirit, the home office is vital to a new build.  I would design it so two people could use it, or design two smaller rooms to be offices for each spouse.  If only one works, the second room could easily become a dedicated space for homework, a small exercise room or art studio.


7-  Four car garage.  Enough space for the daily driver and a weekender or two.  Storage spaces neatly integrated into the garage.