Each of us has a picture in our mind (or on a Pinterest board) of our ideal home. And I will be the first to admit that the raised ranch has not been a source of inspiration or house envy for many of us. And many of our clients specifically request that we exclude them from their search. In a tight inventory market, some buyers are reconsidering and some creative thinkers are re-imagining the common and often maligned raised ranch.
Location. This is – and always should be – the driving factor in selecting a home. Many raised ranches were built in the 1970s and 80s in neighborhoods near schools and other services. As these communities have matured over the past 40 years, so have the trees, lawns and landscaping. Where they may have originally been new and uniform, they might now be lush and diverse in style as well as demographics. Also, raised ranches sometimes present the opportunity to be the “worst house in the best neighborhood.”
Price. Raised ranches were built as affordable housing, and, for the most part still are. They can be an excellent choice for first time home buyers who want to get into the market and into a well-established neighborhood. Because the style can be a leap for some, sellers may be more open to negotiating. And appraisers and agents can usually find comps to support.
Function. The floorplans for almost all raised ranches are identical. They provide the 3 small upstairs bedrooms, so still appropriate for a small family. And the “bonus space” downstairs can serve as a family room, playroom, office, studio or guest quarters. If you live in a climate where you don’t need a garage, that space may be reclaimed as well.
Form. This is where the imagination comes in. Depending on your budget – and all that money you saved by buying a raised ranch in the first place – you can make some simple improvements like new windows, exterior shingles/stone, lighting and landscaping. Or undertake a complete overhaul. Just be careful not to overbuild if you expect to resell within 5-7 years.
So, it may be time to throw away your ideas of what every raised ranch from your childhood (or your parents’ childhood) looked like and embrace the challenge of creating something special. Perhaps some of these “after” shots of raised ranches will inspire you to at least give them a second look. And, whatever you decide to do, please start with removing the inevitable fake shutters that will come with the house.
Michael Mosca is a real estate agent with Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Michael specializes in properties in coastal RI http://www.CoastalRIHome.com and he is a member of Our Trusted Network of Sotheby’s International Realty agents around the U.S. and across the globe http://www.OurTrustedNetwork.com