House Hunters Recap: Spanish Style Home vs. South Carolina Charm

House Hunters Review

New to House Hunters?

Created by HGTV in 2008, House Hunters follows home buyers searching for a new home with a local real estate agent. Every buyer has a different budget, design style, family structure, and lifestyle. Each show features three properties that the buyer evaluates and compares before selecting one to submit an offer. At the end of the show, the show revisits the new owner(s) to see if they're still happy with their decision and if they've made any changes or improvements after moving in.

While it may be just a reality show, the lessons learned by the buyers can prove invaluable to anyone looking for their next home and for Realtors that need an occasional reminder of how the buyer feels through the process of searching for a home.

Last Night's Episode

On last night's episode of House Hunters, a retired marine, Rick, and an "Accordian Queen," Lena, from Norway finally decided to settle down with their three teenage children on the California coast after years of renting in various countries. Lena wanted a country style home inspired by South Carolina low country charm while Rick was searching for a Spanish style home.

List of Must-haves
Within budget of $500,000
Hardwood floors
First floor master bedroom
Privacy from neighbors
Pool if the home is inland

Home 1 - $463,000

Near the beach
Country style
Plantation shutters
Formal dining room

Kitchen was too small for the couple to cook together
Too many projects
No sign of Spanish style elements

Home 2 - $450,000

Ranch style
15 minutes from the beach
6 bedrooms, plenty of room for guests
California/Spanish style
Architectural elements like the rounded archways
Spacious kitchen

Rectangular piece of hardwood in the middle of carpeted dining room
6 bedrooms and 2,700 sq ft, too much room for their family
Backs up to neighbors

House 3 - $485,000

Spanish style
Plantation shutters
Open floor plan
Close to beach
Spacious master bedroom

No pool
Backs up to a major road
Highest listing price of the three properties
All carpet
Undesirable landscaping detail in front of the house

The challenge for the real estate agent was to find a home that incorporated two different design styles with hardwood floors, didn't require too many changes, and had enough privacy from the neighbors in a location that was either close to the beach or in the country with a pool.

The old age saying still rings true today in real estate, "Location, location, location." You can remodel just about any part of a home, but you typically cannot change the location.

When Rick and Lena toured the homes, they noticed elements that they did not like and carefully considered whether or not those elements could be changed and, if they could, if it was worth the money to change them.

One of the most important steps of touring a home is considering what can be changed and whether or not you're willing to spend the money. You can easily change paint color, flooring, or appliances on a relatively small budget depending on your selections. You can also add or remove walls and rooms and remodel bathrooms and kitchens, but you're going to be looking at more work and higher costs. If you purchased your home below your budget, you have room to make these changes, but if the closing price was at the top of your budget, you may have to accept the house as it is until you come up with extra money to make those changes.

*Spoiler Alert!
Rick and Lena chose the third house in the end, closing at $20,000 below the asking price. Nice negotiating skills on the agent's part!

The third house appealed to them, because the style fit with what Rick wanted, a Spanish style home, with country elements like the plantation shutters. They didn't need a pool as it was close to the beach like they wanted and, even though it backed up to a major road, there were plenty of trees to maintain the privacy and block out noisy cars. They replaced the carpet in the master bedroom with tile and have plans on replacing much of the carpet with hardwood.

Moral of the Story

This scenario is a great example of why buyers need to choose a home with pros that are important to them and cannot be easily changed and cons that can easily be changed or have little impact on their everyday lives. Lena insisted on hardwood floors, but decided that those floors could be replaced. Rick wanted to stay closer to $450,000 and, fortunately, his agent was able to negotiate the price down $20,000. An open mind and a skilled Realtor, exactly what you need if you want to find the perfect home!

Remodeled Home in Myrtle Beach
This home was purchased and completely remodeled to include updated appliances, granite countertops, new plumbing, an outdoor shower, and more. This particular house was chosen because of the quiet, beautiful neighborhood and proximity to the beach and Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach entertainment. The buyer recognized the potential in the home and knew how to add value with renovations.

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