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23 OCT

Let There Be Light

Light, open, and spacious.  Those 3 words (I guess 4 if you include the AND) are always on the want list of Buyers.  As a matter of policy, we try to work them into the property description for every home we market somewhere in the ad copy.  However, there really isn’t a perfect way to search for that in a home.  There are search parameters for the number of bedrooms or homes within certain price points but not so much for light, open, and spacious.  It’s on every buyer’s mind.  However, no one really understands what makes a home light, open, and spacious. And even if you like it dark, choppy, and tight, it won’t help in the resale value. Years back a Seller in Jupiter Farms wanted me to sell his home until I told him of the price. He built a high 2-car garage directly behind his home blocking the sun from coming in and creating a view of, well, a garage!  I told him it brought the value down and was promptly escorted to the front door.   So, in case you are looking for a home and value light, open, and spacious, or planning on selling one, or just want to make your more open, here are 8 top tips.

1. Exposure

One word on exposure. Exposure in the MLS Search  is noted as if you are opening up and walking out the front door. However, everyone refers to exposure as if you are looking out the back door. The main reason is your backyard exposure or view is more important.  If still confused,  ask your friendly neighborhood Realtor.

  • Southern Exposure – You get the later morning and afternoon sun. Not just on your pool but more importantly within your home. This naturally keeps the home light, open, and spacious.
  • Western Exposure – Love and Hate Relationship! Beautiful Florida sunsets, lots of light and hot as hell.  Impact glass goes a long way to curb the heat, especially in the summertime, but Western Exposures have wonderful light. And those sunsets.
  • Eastern Exposure – Your AC bill will be low, and you won’t have a problem getting up as sunrises are your thing. Also, great with skin cancer prevention. However, you don’t get much light. From a Realtor perspective, the best time to show a home with an eastern exposure is before noon. It will have a completely different perspective in the afternoon.
  • Northern Exposure – While exposure is not the only thing that goes into how light, open, and spacious a home is, a Northern exposure puts you behind the 8 ball. The pool and inside get very little sun from the back windows. Even the front is hard to photograph.  As will talk about later, the windows and homes next door on the east and west sides can help make up the difference as well in terms of not having a huge overhang.

 

2. Windows

Windows can make all the difference in the world. I remember a home once with a southern exposure that had no window light coming from the east and west and it was like a hallway tunnel in the Shining.  High windows, floor to ceiling sliders, and light coming in from multiple side exposures can make all the difference in the world.  One Realtor trick I use is to always open up all the blinds, have all lights on, and keep key doors open so side windows bring in natural light. As a Buyer, turn all the lights off and close off any light source.  That will tell you if the home is naturally light.

3. The Front Door

A French Glass front door can bring in massive amount of light and help greatly on that first impression.

4. Surroundings

Our home has a Western exposure. To the left of us is a 2-story. Its where our master bedroom is and it doesn’t matter much as we have western windows and light also coming in from sliders facing north. On the right-hand side of our home however is a Northern exposure. Our breakfast room windows are there and thank goodness it’s a 1-story home next door. The kitchen gets filled with light because the light has no building obstruction from coming in. Your surrounding homes are key to light, open, and spacious.

5. Overhang

An outside loggia will have an impact on how much light is coming in. Northern exposures can’t afford much of an overhang sometimes because of it.

6. Ceiling Height

My wife has a nephew who is 6’10 and plays for Vanderbilt. As they say, you can’t teach height. And it’s the same for ceiling height (although sometimes there are ways to raise it in spots). Ceiling height will naturally add light.

7. Color

We recently changed out a white refrigerator to stainless steel. The room turned slightly darker. We have plenty of light, so it works fine, but it really illustrated the effect that paint color has.  If you don’t have a lot of light, keep paint as light as possible and go with white appliances. Furniture also has an impact.  The lighter the color of furniture and the less of it the more light, open, and spacious it will be.

8. Indoor Lighting

Change light fixtures to daylight white. Lighting fixtures can make a big difference. We changed all our light fixtures and to daylight areas.  Some of the biggest differences it makes is in hallways and closets where it can feel like you are doubling the size.

 

Jeff Lichtenstein is owner and broker of Echo Fine Properties, a luxury real estate brokerage selling real estate in Jupiter  and homes in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has 20 years of real estate experience, has closed over a 1,000 transactions, and manages over 50 agents in a non-traditional model of real estate that mimics a traditional business model.  Some publications he has been quoted in.

Feel free to ask him a question directly at jeff@EchoFineProperties.com.

Posted in Open House Blog, Real Estate Tips on October 23, 2021 at 9:09 am.

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