That Old Home Decor Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
May 2, 2017
A “time capsule” home can be a selling point to some home shoppers. These are older homes that may display decades-old decor and have not been refurbished or updated. Instead, they’ve been meticulously maintained in their original style.
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Some home shoppers say they’re drawn to these homes for the quality construction, distinctive design, and nostalgia, The Wall Street Journal reports.
“The number of people looking for time-capsules houses [has], I’ll go out on a limb and say, exploded,” says Pam Kueber, who maintains a list of time-capsule homes on her remodeling blog, RetroRenovation.com.
Some real estate professionals are even specializing in midcentury or unremodeled homes.
Ed Murchison with Virginia Cook, REALTORS®, in Dallas says that over the past five years he’s noticed more young home shoppers seeking Midcentury Modern homes, and they’re willing to pay a premium to get them, too. AMC’s “Mad Men” TV show may have been inspired buyers to appreciate 1960s design.
So that means popcorn ceilings, shag carpeting, peach bathroom tiles, and baby-blue cabinets are hardly a turnoff to some select home shoppers. Indeed, Robin Miller was drawn to a home with such features that was built in the early 1960s in Weaverville, Calif. She purchased the home and plans to leave the retro design intact.
“It’s almost like the less you do, the better because it almost distracts from the architecture that’s already there,” Miller told The Wall Street Journal.
Many time-capsule homes are from the post–World War II housing boom. However, they are in short supply: Many of these homes have since been remodeled.
“We may be seeing the last era of true time-capsule houses in America,” Kueber says.
Real estate professionals say it’s not always smart to renovate a time-capsule home if you have one as your listing. There could be a niche audience out there looking for it.
“Once you remodel a house out of its time period, you have to perpetually remodel every 10 years to keep up with what’s fashionable,” says Alyssa Starelli with Living Room Realty in Portland, Ore. “But if you maintain it in the period it was, it always suits the house.”
For buyers who do find a time capsule home, they should also be vigilant about the condition of the home since it is older. For example, they should assess the home for building code violations and safety hazards, such as lead paint, asbestos, and untempered glass in windows or showers, Kueber says.
Source: “Life Inside a Time Capsule,” The Wall Street Journal (April 27, 2017) [Log-in required.]
Updated: June 22, 2018