Wealthy homebuyers don’t want McMansions; they want large, expensive homes with custom finishes

Wealthy homebuyers may not just want McMansions; they are also willing to pay for interior upgrades.

So long McMansion, hello lifestyle. These days buyers who can afford to pay millions of dollars for a house expect plenty of room for living, but they also expect rooms that fit the way they live…

Granite, marble and hardwoods are expected, but homes in that price range have to offer comfort and livability “beyond the finishes,” said Fridrich & Clark Realtor Richard Bryan…

The 6,500-square-foot home, created as a rustic retreat, balances livability and fine design in a way that Allen believes is becoming a requirement for luxury homes…

The house features an infinity pool, a hot tub and lush landscaping. An open floor plan is designed for entertaining, as are the two outdoor kitchens and three expansive covered porches. The home will be sold with custom furniture and drapes, lighting fixtures and potted plants.

Hidden features, out of sight or at least not readily noticeable, enhance the home’s livability.

Rain gardens that capture water for use in watering the lawn are popular in Nashville’s neighborhoods. Allen took the concept further and installed an underground cistern that collects thousands of gallons of rainwater.

When I saw the headline for the article, I thought it was about people not buying large houses but buying smaller houses with nicer features. In other words, the money that once went for more square footage would instead go for nicer features.

However, the story is about wealthy people still buying big houses but with custom finishes or new kinds of features. Does it matter much if instead of buying an 8,000 square foot home, someone purchases a 6,500 square foot home and stuffs it to the gills with add-on options? Does having a rain garden make the large and expensive house more palatable?

I suspect builders would like this quite a bit. No builder wants to be known for constructing McMansions, mass produced large houses. If they can offer plenty of custom features, they can still make a lot of profit and escape claims they are simply building cavernous homes. This echoes the techniques used by big builders like Toll Brothers; they don’t make McMansions, they make luxury homes.

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