Deal Breakers… You know, the non-negotiables. You’re on a first date and getting to know the person when they happen to mention that they stabbed their ex with a kitchen knife over a burnt piece of toast. Deal Breaker. Or you go to an Open House that you’re really excited about because it’s totally in the price range and the style of the house is just so you. But then you arrive and find out that the back yard is all of 5 feet deep and on the other side of that block wall is the 405 freeway. Deal Breaker.
I showed some pictures of a gorgeous kitchen to a friend of mine.
It was huge, with acres of quartz counter tops and a tiled-in brick arch over the expansive cooking area. She loves to cook and I thought she’d dig it. She agreed it was pretty but said “I can’t stand to have my back to everyone when I cook. I need to be able to see everyone.” What I thought was a selling point was actually a deal breaker for her.
For my father, noise is a deal breaker. If it’s too close to the flight path or a busy road, he’s out. For me, insufficient closet space or ill-placed laundry are certainly going to give me pause.
But in reality, actual Deal Breakers are few and far between. If you love the house enough, there’s are aspects you’ll overlook. Maybe it’s selling for a great price in that school district you’ve been dying to get into. You can probably live with the 80’s kitchen for a while if the other features are great. So what are they called if they aren’t Deal Breakers? Affection Dissipators? That doesn’t really roll off the tongue. Let’s call them Stumbling Blocks.
Your Stumbling Blocks will weigh into your overall feeling toward the house. If there are enough great selling points tipping the scales in the other direction, your stumbling blocks may feel minimized. In the “three I’ve truly loved“, two of them had laundry rooms inside, one did not. The one that didn’t had so many other selling points that I was willing to overlook it. The other two definitely checked the box of “inside laundry room” and one was such a dream (huge and right next to the master closet) that it was one of the positives tipping the scales away from any Stumbling Blocks. (For the record, I can’t think of a single Stumbling Block on that one. My father didn’t like the airplane noise but I was so enchanted I couldn’t even hear it.)
420 Osgood Court in Laguna Beach is a true charmer. Great style, wonderful location, quality finishes, interesting features… I’d seen the online pictures and thought “what a great price for a place so close to the beach in Laguna!” so I had to hit the Open House. I found Osgood Court, parked nearby, and instantly loved the exterior. Horizontal, varnished wood siding, with a concrete planter made it feel modern, clean, and well-executed. Inside was no let-down, either. The kitchen was white with marble counter tops, frosted glass doors, and a subway-tile back splash. The cooktop faced the living room and the farmhouse sink looked out a window. The house is small, but friendly and efficient. The house had a wonderful feel to it. Such an intangible, but so important. It was very peaceful and relaxing to be there. The current owners very cleverly turned a screen porch into an open-air office, and there was a small but private and tranquil outdoor space. Originally just a 1 bathroom, they carved out enough space to add a powder room. Phew! For me, a 1-bathroom is an actual Deal Breaker. I may still look at a 1-bathroom house, but if I can’t find a place to add at least a powder room, I’m out. Then, of course, I had to ask… “Where is the laundry?” The answer broke my heart a little. It was outside, facing the carport/parking space. They’d enclosed it nicely, with the same wood siding as the house. Truly, everything was well thought out and top notch on Osgood, but I just couldn’t with that. I had to move on. This house is a perfect vacation home, or great for a single person or couple who don’t share in my laundry hang-ups. The everyday living is relaxed but refined and I love the green walls. I loved the exterior, the obvious high quality work they’d put into the place, the floors, the kitchen… The scales began to tip a bit simply due to the small size (970 square feet) but the outdoor laundry (and literally no way to move it in) was unfortunately the deal breaker, and the heart breaker.
Cute little Osgood Court gets 7 hearts from me. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
700 Poppy certainly did not have the issue of being too small! This is a gorgeous “modern farmhouse” home of nearly 2400 square feet. The Deal Breaker for me was the floor plan. I’d looked at this house online, loved it, and couldn’t wait to go through the Open House. It’s at the top corner of the village, backing to Buck Gulley, with views toward the ocean as well. Oh, I was so excited to see it in person! The house is 3 stories, with the garage being the middle level. As you enter from street level and a spacious front yard/patio, you find yourself in a huge and beautiful kitchen, with high ceilings. There is an eating bar for 3, which is where you would likely have 100% of your meals. The living and dining rooms were a half level above the kitchen! I cannot imagine anyone carrying their dinner up 7 stairs and running back down to get the salt, butter, or seconds. This was a huge design flaw, in my opinion. Also on the street/entry level were the powder room and (I think) the laundry room. I was so thrown by the inconvenient dining room that I wasn’t paying much attention to the laundry. (Weird, right?) Above the garage was a bedroom with it’s own bath. All of the highest quality finishes and capturing a nice view of the village. The master suite was a half level down from the kitchen and entry. Oh, the master suite! I would spend all of my time here. The bathroom was huge and luxurious, and not only was there a big tub (with a lovely light fixture above) in the bathroom, but there was a second soaking tub out on the balcony! The balcony called to me to spend endless hours out there, looking over the lower part of the yard and into Buck Gulley. On the lowest level was another bedroom, a great flat yard with adirondack chairs and a fire pit, and an office or sitting room. I was baffled by this. Why wasn’t it a bathroom? Whoever lives or stays in this bedroom has to come up 1-1/2 flights of stairs to simply use the powder room. If they want to shower, they have to go up another flight of stairs and through someone else’s bedroom! This made zero sense to me. Perhaps it’s an easy fix, to turn the office/sitting room on the lowest level into a bathroom for that bedroom. There’s certainly space for it. I just can’t understand why it wasn’t constructed that way in the first place. I wanted SO much to love this place – it was absolutely gorgeous, in a great location. But all of the ups and downs left me feeling down and the layout was just a Deal Breaker for me.
It’s difficult to assign hearts to Poppy because the location and quality are so great, but the layout is so inefficient if you have more than 3 people living there. It kills me to only give this beautiful house 7 hearts, but 8 just seems too high. 7-1/2 hearts for 700 Poppy.
What’s on your list of Deal Breakers and what’s just a Stumbling Block? What can you simply not live without and what would you rather not sacrifice? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or give Ross a call to discuss and let him find you a home where you won’t have to compromise!