More Buyers Tear Down Old Houses in Prime Locations

September 1, 1998

Reports from practitioners around the country indicate a nationwide trend toward tearing down homes in desirable locations to build larger ones with more amenities.

In 1997 nearly one in 10 new houses was the result of a teardown, says Gopal Ahluwalia, research director at the National Association of Home Builders.

“People want homes with an open, airy feel,” says Matthew Maury, a partner with Stuart & Maury Real Estate, Bethesda, Md., which has seen a recent spike in teardowns.

“They want rooms with cathedral ceilings; guest suites; and bedroom-level laundry rooms. You can’t find those things in old homes,” he says.

But what you do find is that old homes have great locations near good schools in established neighborhoods with big trees. And they’re often closer to metropolitan centers.

To stay on top of the trend, you may want to familiarize yourself with the possible hurdles your raze-minded prospects face.

Many communities, such as those in Dallas and in Pacific Palisades, Calif., have adopted new or stricter guidelines regarding the number and the kinds of houses that can be demolished.

Untangling the Web

Have you thought about how consumers will find your Internet address among the other 50 million Web pages in cyberspace?

“Most businesspeople think all they have to do is create a Web site and it’ll wind up on all the search engines,” says Stephen Wynkoop, author of Running a Perfect Web Site (Que Education & Training, 1996). “It doesn’t work that way.”

According to a survey of Internet users by the Georgia Tech Research Corp., released in December 1997 (, 82 percent of Internet users find new Web pages through search engines.

If you want to make sure your site gets on plenty of search engines, Wynkoop suggests that you contact a company like Submit It! (, which enables you to add your Web site address to 16 popular search tools free of charge or to more than 200 search tools for about $60. Another such service is !Register-It! (

If your site is especially cool, consider submitting it to one of the hundreds of Internet award sponsors. Winners, and even contenders, tend to get a lot of notice. You’ll find a list of Web site awards at

Finally, to ensure that your site pops up on consumers’ searches, put a list of realty-related keywords on your home page--terms such as REALTOR® (as long as you are one and use the term appropriately), real estate, houses, homes, property, land, relocation, and condominiums.

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