Three Things Buyers Regret Overlooking in a Home

June 03, 2019

Selecting where you will next reside is one of those major decisions in life that has lasting consequences. Three of the most commonly overlooked aspects of the decision-making process are the:

Walk score

The downtowns of large cities are becoming more populated. However, the number of roads, freeways, and for the most part parking spots, are staying the same. Having the ability to walk to your destination not only prevents you from fighting traffic and praying to the parking fairy but is also healthy for you. The Walk Score algorithm, which is owned by Redfin, awards points for each destination that is between 1/4 mile and 1 mile of the subject residence. A study completed in 2009 showed that a 9 point increase in a San Francisco Walk Score, equated to a 4.7% increase in housing value. That is approx. .5% increase in value per Walk Score point.

The lack of affordability in large urban downtowns like San Francisco and Oakland has pushed many homebuyers East. Many once-sleepy suburban downtowns have been revitalized and offer many opportunities to live in a high Walk Score location, without having to deal with crime and compromised schools.


Everything in the home has an average lifespan. If you are about to buy an older home you need to find out the age of the components within the home.  If the owner didn’t keep good records, you will be living with several ticking time bombs. Here is the average life expectancy of:

  • Air Conditioners- 10 to 15 years
  • Furnaces- 15 to 20 years
  • Decks- 20 years
  • Carpet- 8 to 10 years
  • Electrical fixtures and controls- 10 years
  • Kitchen Cabinets- 50 years
  • Roofs- Clay/ Concrete 50 years, asphalt shingles 20 years, fiber cement shingles 25 years
  • Most Landscaping Elements- 15 to 20 years

When you need to replace a component within the home, your best bet may be to secure a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). Consult your tax prepared, but the interest paid on your HELOC may be tax deductible.

Replacement Cost

One way to avoid the aforementioned ticking time bombs is to get out in front of them and hire a contractor to remodel your home. You get to ditch all of the dated counters, cabinets, and flooring, and select materials that match your style. However, the be prepared for it to take longer and cost more than you expect.  To prepare you for the cost, here is a list of the estimated costs for some commonly remodeled items:

  • Higher End Kitchen Remodel: $40,000 – $60,000
  • Average Master Bathroom: $30,000 – $65,000 (basic labor only)
  • Roof: $10,000 – $30,000
  • Tankless Water Heater: $800 – $3,000 materials only
  • Refinish Wood Floors: $2,000 per 1000 sqft.
  • Electrical Rewiring: $6,000- $20,000
  • Windows: $10,000 – $15,000
  • Exterior Siding: $10,000 – $25,000
  • Foundation: $80,000 – $200,000
  • Water Pipes and Supply: $5,000 – $15,000
  • Sewer Lateral Pipe Replacement: $7,000 – $14,000
  • Underground Electrical Service Upgrade: $29,000
  • High Efficiency Furnace: $13,000 inc. labor
  • Seismic Upgrade: $5,000 – $10,000

The work then needs to be up to current code and inspected by the Department of Building Inspection, which opens you up to the whim of the inspector’s given mood the day of the inspection. You’d also need to consider where you reside while the remodel is ongoing?  If you live elsewhere, then you are paying for two housing payments. If you live in the home during the average 4 to 6 month remodel, you are exposing yourself to the fumes, dirt, and debris as well as the hassle of not being able to use the rooms under construction. In addition, filing for a building permit may trigger a reassessment from the Assessor’s office, increasing your property taxes.

Lenox Home is offering brand new residences with a good walk score.  The Lenox Solution is:

Three by lenox

The majority of the new construction in the San Francisco, Oakland, and Walnut Creek downtown areas are for rent apartment complexes. However, Lenox is building 12 large two bed / two bath condos in Downtown Walnut Creek. The building is called Three. Buying at Three has:

  • No ticking time bombs: Buying a new home not only ensures everything in the home is brand new, but you get the added security of a limited 10-year Warranty
  • No remodeling: Buyers currently have the ability to select all of their desired finishes
  • A Great Walk Score: Three has a score of 82. It is nestled within steps of shopping, restaurants, theaters, and BART.

Visit THREE by Lenox >> to learn more

Sources: Building SF | CEO’s For Cities | National Association of Home Builders