On “My Lottery Dream Home,” David Bromstad has met many folks with grand plans on how they’ll fix up a home once they’ve bought it (himself included). Yet in the latest episode, he reminds us that some of these upgrades may be more of a headache than they’re worth.
“Everyone always says they want a project until they see a project,” Bromstad says.
In the Season 12 episode “Must Love Goats,” Bromstad meets Joe, who’s interested in buying a home in the Fresno, CA, area. Joe isn’t a lottery winner, but he recently received a $500,000 windfall from what he mysteriously calls an “unprecedented time in my life.”
Now, Joe wants to find a home in a peaceful area where he can raise a family one day. While he says he’d like a home he can customize, over the course of their home shopping, Joe comes to realize he may be just fine buying a home and leaving it more or less as is.
Find out which home Joe picks, and get some smart lessons on what you don’t have to spend money changing. Spoiler: Sometimes, a house is just fine without any improvements at all!
Don’t cover a brick fireplace
The first home Bromstad shows Joe is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom listed for $477,000. The home has a nice lot and, while it’s a little dated, it doesn’t require much work. In fact, Joe and Bromstad like the brick fireplace, which has a unique curved design.
“I love the fireplace,” Bromstad says. “I don’t know about you, but I think it’s super interesting. It’s super weird, which I love.”
“Yeah, there’s a lot of dimension to it,” Joe says.
While many buyers will want to paint or tile an old brick fireplace today, this home shows it’s by no means a requirement. Brick may be a little dated, but it can also be beautiful, especially if it creates a unique look you won’t find in many other homes.
Never remove a bathtub
When Bromstad and Joe check out one of the guest bathrooms, Joe seems interested in reworking the tub-shower combo and installing an updated standing shower.
However, Bromstad says that keeping the old tub, which is made of durable cast iron, is the smart thing to do.
“I’d usually recommend keeping the tub for resale value,” Bromstad says.
Sleek standing showers with elegant glass doors may be in style, but the old-fashioned tub-and-shower will usually work better for families. Sometimes it makes financial sense to leave home features alone.
Dark countertops are back in
The second house they tour is newer and has three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. This home is over budget at $520,000, but Joe immediately likes that it’s turnkey.
He even likes one kitchen feature that many buyers would want to replace: a dark countertop.
“I’m starting to like the darker countertops,” Joe says while inspecting the kitchen. “It kind of goes with the flow of the house.”
“It does,” Bromstad says in agreement. “It makes it very cozy and warm.”
While light, bright kitchens have been popular, buyers shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon and pay for an update that’ll go out of style eventually.
This kitchen serves as a good reminder to embrace colors you like and feel comfortable around, not colors that are trendy.
Don’t add a door you don’t need
Joe also likes the home’s main bedroom suite, but Bromstad points out that something is missing between the bedroom and bathroom.
“Does it bug you there’s no door here?” he asks Joe.
Surprisingly, Joe doesn’t mind the easy flow from bedroom to bathroom. The omission of a bathroom door has been a popular construction choice in recent decades, so if privacy isn’t an issue, why add a door where you don’t need one?
A big sink is always worth saving
The third home is a gorgeous five-bedroom, three-bathroom home (including a detached guesthouse) on 2 beautiful acres. The land is well used, with a garden, small vineyard, and even goats.
Joe is instantly impressed by the home, particularly the big farmhouse sink in the kitchen. As a cook, he loves the function of the extra-large sink.
“A lot of dishes can be washed in there,” he says.
Which house is the winner?
After some deliberation, Joe reveals that he’s chosen the third house, with the massive plot of land, goats and all.
“I knew it, my instincts were right. You wanted the country life,” Bromstad says. “It feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere but you’re really quite close to everything. Which is rare and wonderful. It’s not just a property; it’s an estate.”