There is a construction boom going on in a number of Western states. Utah is one such state, and it is where the Sparano + Mooney architectural firm does most of its work. One of the firm’s most valued types of clients is the upscale professional looking to build a second home near one of the state’s popular ski resorts. Said clients may have a strong preference for a particular architectural style. But does that hold true across the board?
It is a tough question to answer. It probably depends on whether architecture is important to a home buyer to begin with. Financial resources probably have a lot to do with it, too. After all, if you are paying to build a vacation home from the ground up, you might just as well get exactly what you want.
Custom Build vs. Tract Housing
There are multiple ways to look at buying a second home. The first is to invest in a rental home as a real estate asset. In such cases, buyers are not looking at custom-built. They are looking at tract houses. But what if an investor plans to use the property as a vacation home in addition to renting it?
A bigger consideration in such cases is location. Buying a second home in Central Florida, where the big tourist draws are the many theme parks in the region, could still have you looking in a housing tract. Why? Because Central Florida rentals serve mainly as sleeping quarters. Renters do not spend a lot of time actually on site.
Go to either of Florida’s coasts and it’s a different ballgame. Vacation homes along the beaches are rarely tract houses. They are almost always custom builds. Likewise for vacation homes in Utah, where skiing is the big thing and money is no object.
Paying for Perfection
Speaking of money being no object, people with the financial resources to build second homes from the ground up probably have the resources to pay for perfection. Here is where architectural style comes into play. If a home buyer hires Sparano + Mooney to design their Park City ski lodge, they are going to get something in the Mountain Modern, Mountain Contemporary, or Contemporary styles. Those are the three styles that Sparano + Mooney specialize in.
If none of those styles appeal to the buyer, they might hire a different firm. The point is that having sufficient financial resources opens the door to choosing a particular architectural style rather than having to buy a generic tract home.
Planned Use of the Home
How a buyer plans to use their second home may also influence whether architectural style is important. Plans to use the property as a full-time rental would probably dictate that architectural style is low on the list of buyer priorities. Instead, they are more interested in neighborhood condition, local amenities, access to schools, etc.
Architectural style becomes more important if the buyer intends to spend a significant amount of time at the second home. A buyer might prefer Mountain Modern or Contemporary design because they love wide-open spaces and floor-to-ceiling glass. Since they plan to spend 8 to 10 weeks in the house every year, they are going to get those elements.
Generally speaking, buyers of second homes care less about architectural design when they are purchasing existing houses. It is not until they decide to build from the ground up that architecture becomes so important. Perhaps what we have here is really the difference between custom-builds and existing homes. It is nothing more complicated than that.