Edwardsville IL Homes for Sale and Real Estate : Over the River and Through the Woods: Buying a Grandma House

Over the River and Through the Woods: Buying a Grandma House

There's nothing I like more than finding a good "Grandma House" for my buyers.

What's a "Grandma House?"  That's my term for a nice, solid home that is usually, but not always, being sold as an estate and is in dated condition.

Grandma and Grandpa may have gone to spend all their money in Florida. Or they've moved to an assisted living community, a nursing home or to the great beyond and now their home is being sold by their heirs or the people that hold their Power of Attorney for real estate.

A typical Grandma House in my area of Southwestern Illinois may have last been redecorated in the 1970s or -- if you're lucky and you're a fan of Mid-Century Modern design like I am -- it may not have been touched since the 50s or 60s. Here the exterior is often solid brick.

Inside you'll find that it needs a good coat of paint on those solid plaster walls and beautiful decorative ceilings. It will need to have the shag or sculptured pile wall-to-wall carpeting removed. (Very often here buyers are surprised by the beautiful hardwood floors that are uncovered in great condition underneath all of that icky carpet.) The carpeting can be blue, mauve, dark green or any number of surprising colors you wouldn't find gracing a new home today.

Speaking of unusual colors, a Grandma House might have a pink bathroom. Regular readers will know about my passion for those authentic pink and black tiles. I would urge a buyer to leave it alone, but that's just me. It's easy now to paint tiles or to re-do the bath to your taste later.

Kitchens will have vinyl flooring (or sometimes indoor/outdoor carpeting -- yikes!) and sensible appliances that might still be cooking away despite being clad in Harvest Gold, Coppertone or Olive Green instead of stainless steel.

You'll probably find very expensive and heavy custom-made draperies that might be hiding some original Venetian Blinds. Occasionally you'll find replacement windows, but that's not a given.

And in the best Grandma Houses, you'll find systems that have been cared for and maintenance that has been well-documented over the years. All of that would be located in a clean, clean basement. Oh, and Grandpa would have a workbench down there -- with a pencil sharpener screwed to the workbench or the staircase. 

The perfect buyer for a good Grandma House knows quality when they see it. They are pleased to be able to afford an all-brick home and they appreciate the plaster and the solid nature of the construction. They are able to see past the cosmetic needs and focus on acquiring a place that they can make into their own over time, raising its value as they pay down their mortgage.

So if you have the imagination to see past cosmetics to the underlying beauty of a home that needs your modern touch, you might be the perfect buyer for a great Grandma House.

Enjoy life in the (618) area code in Southwestern Illinois, St. Louis' Illinois suburbs. SEARCH FOR HOMES HERE.



I help good people buy and sell good homes in St. Louis' Illinois suburbs, with special emphasis on the Metro East communities of Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Collinsville, Troy and surrounding areas in Madison County, Illinois.

Are you a teacher, firefighter, law enforcement officer, medical professional or active duty or retired military? Then ask me about Homes for Heroes, offering substantial savings on home purchases. Learn more at Homes For Heroes.

For more information or to search for homes, visit my sites at NancyMilton.com618Life.com, or GoshenRealtyGroup.com or send an email to me at Nancy@GoshenRealtyGroup.com. Text or call Nancy Milton Holtzscher, your Edwardsville Realtor, at 618-791-8007 any time.

REMAX Preferred Partners is located at One 157 Center, Edwardsville, IL 62025, 618-791-8007 (direct) 618-655-1188 (office). We're easy to find on IL-157 in Edwardsville between Pasta House Co. and Shenanigans. Each office is independently owned and operated.

Comment balloon 3 commentsNancy Milton Holtzscher • July 21 2011 02:38PM


I like “Grandma House” much better than “dated,” which is what we call them out here.

Posted by Not a real person almost 8 years ago

Thanks, Russel:  I feel like Grandma might have treated the house more gently.  Either way, the buyers need a good home inspector like you to look it over. Don't want to find a wolf hiding in Grandma's bed.

Posted by Nancy Milton Holtzscher, Edwardsville/Glen Carbon, Illinois Broker, REALTOR (RE/MAX Alliance in St.Louis' Illinois suburbs) almost 8 years ago

Love the term Grandma House - probably a good selling point - can smell the cookies baking in that Harvest Gold colored stove as I write this - It's a shame that the appliances today aren't made to last like those, though. Loved reading your blog :) ~ Jennifer The IHI Home Inspections Girl 

Posted by Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections, Experience the IHI Difference (IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581) almost 8 years ago

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