From what I have been told, builders have said that due to the high cost of land, materials and workers, there is no way to build an affordable community for first time home buyers or retirees under $250,000 per unit.
I beg to differ. Check your high ROIs at the door.
Look at some of the long term builders who have properties across the country. How did they do it in the 70’s? A national builder in my area, Who Shall Not Be Named, used less expensive materials such as in cabinets and countertops, built on slabs and found that price point in which buyers were willing to pay, offering options to upgrade even when the low price package wasn’t bad. That’s how they survived when other builders went bankrupt.
Another problem is the response from buyers. Somewhere along the line, buyers have gotten HGTV spoiled. This is what Realtors hear all day in my expensive suburbia: I want an on-trend kitchen with granite counter tops, wood floors (will settle for re-engineered), 3-4 bedrooms, an office space, newer tiled 2 bathrooms, a finished basement with entertainment area/kitchen/bar. This cannot be built here in southeast Michigan for $250k and buyers expect to get it from resales.
Since I am a member of the Over 50 and Fabulous Crowd, I want to downsize, but the retirement communities around me start leasing at over $3,000 per month, or purchase at $300k and up. How is this affordable on retirement income for most people? Not sure I will be able to retire. I will probably work at my desk until someone rolls me out the door.
Now that my kids are out of the house, I want to downsize from a two story to a small ranch house (stairs are now the enemy for knees and laundry) that I can pay off in a 15 year mortgage just in time for retirement. But like many of my anticipated sellers, there is Sticker Shock. Why move if the next house is just as expensive? One result is that my market is down 30 percent in home listings because the Boomers aren’t budging.
So I have designed a little dream complex for people like me. You can call me a Stepford Wife, but I think I could be happy here.
Here’s the plan I challenge builders to design at $250k per unit. Tell us the price point for the land, and we Realtors will find it.
There would be duplex condos with cathedral ceilings, 2 bed/2bath, central air, office space, 2 car garage with workshop and storage shelving, paver patios, no basements, walk in closets, open concept, all handicap designed if senior community, and guest parking.
¨ In front of the community is a privately owned Minimart grocery store, a restaurant, and a small coffee shop.
¨ Community is shaped in a U with Duplex homes around the drive, woods in the surrounding area.
¨ Community building has a weight room, bathrooms for the swimming, and an open room with Wi Fi available and a media projector for movie nights
¨ Outdoor pool is zero walk in, goes to 5 ft deep, no diving.
¨ Playground for visiting children/grandchildren
¨ Dog park area (dogs under 40 pounds, one pet per household)
¨ Full time contract maintenance person daily for community house, pool, and exterior condo maintenance, playgrounds
¨ Monthly resident board appoints a volunteer community activities planner. Residents volunteer to oversee activities.
¨ Contracted management company oversees maintenance person and association fees, meets with resident board.
That’s my two cents. There are communities in my area already doing this for over $300k homes, so I’m sure the architects can fix my flaws and come up with a plan.
Any builders up for the challenge?