Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372

FROM WIKOPEDIA - McMansion  is a pejorative term for a large new house which is judged as pretentious, tasteless, or badly designed for its neighborhood . .




I KEEP READING ABOUT THE NEW TREND TO THE SMALLER HOME.  Of course that is true.  However, I am of the opinion that folks will not always willingly buy the smaller home because they . . .

  • Want to buy as much as they can while prices are down.
  • Small homes in my area mean townhomes for condos.
  • The smaller homes are older or not in communities with amenities.
  • The luxury features in the McMansion, i.e., granite countertops, wood floors, etc. strongly appeal and are great features for resale.

"My Dad says I should only buy a brick home and that newer homes are not insulated well." 




For a few years now, builders have solved the problem of buyers wishing to spend less for their home.  THEY REDUCED THE LOT SIZE.  But. . .

"My Dad says I should get the biggest lot possible, even if I have to buy an old home." 

N E W S   F L A S H.. . .  Builders don't construct small homes on large lots.  They can't make any money building a small home on a large (expensive) building lot.

Here's the scoop on the old home, THEY ARE VERY LIKELY TO BE A MONEY PIT.

O.K.  I own a McMansion.  By most accounts, for a person living along in a house, mine is far larger than I need.  True enough, although it is nice to be able to accommodate family, friends when they need to spend a day or week.  I put a home buyer family of four up for 4 months one time while their home was finished.  Can't do that in a small home.

Back in about the 1980s, I lived in a one bedroom condo.  Then one day, when walking through the living/dining/kit area, you know the design, I STUMPED MY TOE ON A KIT/BRK/DIN STOOL.  That was it.  "I'M OUTTA HERE!"  

Home in Bethesda


THE OLDER HOME.  So, I purchased a lovely Cape Cod in Bethesda in about 2003.  It was in a wonderful area but the home was 53 years old.  One of my sons and I completely remodeled the house and it became a lovely home, but it was a MONEY PIT.  GEEZ.  We replaced the roof, the flooring, the kitchen, the baths, finished the upper level, new heat pump, electric, plumbing, water heater, everything.  However, it was, by this time, 55 years old and on a small lot with folks knocking on my door all day long selling this or that. 

So, I had gone from an 800 sq. ft. condo to a 1395 sq. ft. Cape that we upgraded into a 1990 sq. ft. Cape.  Guess what.  I hated it.  Perhaps it's the experience of selling so many new homes that has me jaded when it comes to the older, small homes.  What do I love about the McMansions??


Space, space, space.  A place for everything and a place to put everything.  (notice that I didn't say that everything would always be in that place, but the place is there when I need it.

Light, light, light.  I love the tall windows that make rooms sunny and bright.  Sure, the dust is easier to see but I don't care.

Homes that flow from room to room.  I love the kitchen/breakfast room/family room in the newer (last 20 years) designs.

Family rooms.  Few older rooms have a true family room.  Rec rooms in the lower levels don't work because that puts the cook in the kitchen all by themselves unless the house has a huge eat-in kitchen.  Possible but so many older home have walls where newer homes have open designs.

Garden bath in the owner's bedroom.  The luxury of a large master bath with a separate walk-in shower, perhaps a "water closet" with a door.  All fabulous. 

High ceilings.  I remember when ceiling heights went to 9 feet in new homes from most builders, about 1990.  I loved them immediately.   Now, when walking into an older home with 8 ft. ceilings, the difference in ambiance is amazing. 

Gourmet kitchens.  Ah, the kitchen with the island, double wall oven, build in microwave, side-by-side frig,

Floorings materials including beautiful woods with almost impervious finishes that you can have in the kitchen.

Electrical, plumbing, insulation, etc., including state of the art phone/tv/computer packages that give us online features.

All of the above and more are in the McMansions at about 1/2 the adjusted cost of what they would have cost 30-40 years ago.  I show a lot of new homes.  New homes have been a "niche" for me for 25 years.  I've watched them become more beautiful with spectacular designs, materials and features that make these lovely houses homes.

Buyer love them and so do I.

                  Lenn's home in the snow

                                                               Lenn's McMansion in Lovettsville, VA. 

SEE - Local McMansions in Loudoun County, Virginia.

 Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker,, 800-711-7988.


FOR THE BEST NEW HOME BUYING EXPERIENCE, WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED NEW HOME BUYER'S AGENT.  LENN HAS SPECIALIZED IN NEW HOME SALES SINCE 1992.   With over 25 years real estate experience, we can help you buy your home with the confidence that the home you're buying is the very best home in your price range in your area of choice.   We can help.  If your desire is for a new home is a McMansion, we know where they are located in your price range. 


Lenn Harley, Broker,, 800-711-7988


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Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Lenn - Many of the features that you mention in favor of McMansions are things most of us love as well.  What we don't like about them is the cost of upkeep and the taxes that come along with the space.  Figure out a way to reduce those costs, and you'll have all of us vying for them.

Jun 02, 2010 01:20 AM #5
Dan Benefield
Benefield Realty - Decatur, GA

Nice post Lenn. In my area, the McMansions tend to be on smaller lots, in good areas, and typically areas made up of retirees on fixed incomes. Their issues were tax increases on a 200k home when a million dollar McMansion was built next to them. Totally being overpowered and losing light, etc., was another issue. I can see their point. Having said that, there are some that I like, and wish I could afford to get one. Have a great day.

Jun 02, 2010 01:22 AM #6
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Everywhere we have lived has always been "more space than we need"...need...hmmmm....when we built our house my Dad said..don't put in that big walk in closet....she will fill it up...and he was of course right !

Jun 02, 2010 01:22 AM #7
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Lora.  Interesting.  I, for one, appealed my real estate tax and got a $1,500 reduction.  As far as upkeep, with new construction, you start from no upkeep and can gradually work it in.  With the older home, it's there from day one OR BEFORE, often with a great deal of DEFERRED MAINTENANCE.


Jun 02, 2010 01:23 AM #8
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Lenn.....I have always lived in a new home much larger than I needed....I like to design my opinion, there is no such thing as having too much money, being too thin or living in a home that's too large.

Jun 02, 2010 01:23 AM #9
Lina Robertson
RE/MAX Solutions and RE/MAX House of Brokers - Springfield, MO
REALTOR® Serving Springfield, Nixa and Ozark, MO

Lenn - I'm living in my own McMansion, and I love it!  I've had people comment that it was more than I NEED.  I really don't care.  I work very hard to buy things that I WANT.  I will never outgrow it, it's very light, open and airy, and because it's newer, it's very easy to maintain.  To each their own.  Besides, I've had buyers that downsized, only to call me up in a couple of years and ask me to sell it so they could buy something bigger. 

Jun 02, 2010 01:42 AM #10
Sanna K. Thomas
Sellstate Next Generation Realty - Ocala, FL
PA GRI, E-Pro, SFR, AHWD, LH Ocala Florida Luxury

Lenn,  I love the feel you get from the older homes large lot with mature trees and plenty of space between the neighbors. BUT its a vicious cycle of work!

Jun 02, 2010 01:46 AM #11
Amy Hahn
Pine Knoll Shores Realty - Morehead City, NC
Realtor/Broker - Crystal Coast, NC

Lenn - I live in an older home with a large lot.  Like you said, Lots of time, money and energy we have put into it!  New roof, new siding, new plumbing, electrical, and it seems to never end. 

Next time...I'm going for a McMansion!!!

Jun 02, 2010 01:59 AM #12
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland


Jun 02, 2010 02:20 AM #13
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Lina.  HA!  I knew I wasn't alone.  For some reason, when folks visit my home, a question often comes up.. . .  Why do you have such a large home????? 


Jun 02, 2010 02:21 AM #14
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

This post made me smile. Good for you. I'm sure you feel better after getting that off your chest. 

Live where you wanna live, sista. 

Jun 02, 2010 02:26 AM #15
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Sanna.  Indeed.  Been there.  Didn't like it.

Any. Hurray.  Onother for our side.


Jun 02, 2010 02:28 AM #16
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Phil.  Thanks.  You bet.  The McMansions have gotten a bum rap for a decade.  I love them. 

So, they're often on a small lot??  So what??  Often they are constructed in communities with HOAs that do all of the grounds maintenance, have privach fencing and more.

So, they look like pieces on a Monopoly board.  So what.  I enjoyed Monopoly when I was young. 

So, they often don't have big lots.  So what?  I'm not intersted in sitting a ride-on mower for hours every Saturday a.m.

Now, if I could just train my robot vacuum a bit better. 

Jun 02, 2010 03:15 AM #17
Jim Hale
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

Lenn -

Your home looks wonderful.  I have no doubt you earned it.

But in your area, the national housing recession is barely comparison to other large metro areas across the country.

In many places very large homes are now a steal....languishing in over-supply.  They are a great value for someone who can now afford what the original owner probably loved but could not, ultimately, afford.

I could take you to areas outside Portland, OR where we could drive for miles and miles and miles past McMansion after McMansion after McMansion....all on super-sized lots...with every-other-one for sale.


Our national economy has peaked, our grandchildren will, on average, not be able to afford the large homes that marked the most recent housing boom/bubble/bust.  They will not be able to afford a lot of the things their seniors could...while they pay off the national debt we are willing to them.

That is sad, but a trend homebuilders (and the rest of us) will just have to get used to.

Jun 02, 2010 04:43 AM #18
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

A lot of those homes are newer constructed, in newer subdivisions and that's an appeal for a lot of buyers.  They don't want to have to update an older home.  Here, many of the larger homes are built on very small lots.  At least in the Metro Portland area.  So there's a toss up for buyers:  Newer w/smaller lots, or older w/larger lots.

Jun 02, 2010 05:58 AM #19
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Jim.  Make no mistake.  I am well aware of the housing problems in different areas.  My area too.  I bought my home in Feb. 2005.  It's value is now about 55% of what I paid. 

Nevertheless, I love it.  Builders in my area are not building smaller homes.  They are building on smaller, much smaller lots. 

Carla.  We have the same here.

Actually, if there were not so much poor and deferred maintenance, older homes would have a lot more appeal.  Far too many folks buy a home and just use it, abuse it and don't care.

Those are not attractive to any buyer.  I can go into a 40 year old community and 80% of the homes will have 40 year old kitchens.


Jun 02, 2010 08:00 AM #20
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

That's a beautiful picture of your McMansion Lenn!! I too love lots of sq footage. But we have now down sized in the last 3 years from 3000 sq ft to a littkle over 1500. TLW had to get rid of a whole bunch of stuff.

You can buy 3000 sq ft in my market for less than $200k.

In fact last week I looked at a 10 year old home with 11 bedrooms, 7 baths and over 8,000 sq ft on 2.5 acres with a swimming pool and a 4 bed 2 bath mother in law cottage for..........$459,000!!

It's an awesome time to buy a McMansion.

Jun 02, 2010 09:58 AM #21
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Bryant.  Indeed it is.  Wish I were buying now.  For what I paid for this McMansion, I could now buy a McMansion with a lake and a trap range.. 

Then I wouldn't have to spend all that time on the road to lakes and trap ranges.

Oh well.

Jun 02, 2010 11:21 AM #22
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

Hi, Lenn!

Great post! I haven't heard anyone defend McMansions before, and you've made lots of interesting points. I have to confess I prefer selling older homes, with lots of rooms and walls and charm, on bigger lots. But even buyers who say they don't "need" a big home, like the ones I was showing homes to last week, unconsciously prefer larger ones. They want to buy as much square footage in their price range as they can.



Jun 05, 2010 01:56 AM #23
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Robin.  That is my experience too.  What they don't want is the older home with many rooms.  Open space, kitchen, bk nook, family room is a must.

Jun 05, 2010 11:09 AM #24
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