Please don’t buy {or build} an ugly house

When you’re buying a new house it’s important that the inside space really works for you. But it’s also important that the outside doesn’t look like shit either.

Sometimes I look at a building and I honestly don’t know – 1. what the person who designed it was thinking, or 2. who on earth thought it was great looking and what an awesome idea it would be to buy it.

In one way I can totally get behind the idea of ‘to each their own’ and that everything is beautiful in some way… to someone… but also – some buildings are just ugly. I am far more offended by new construction than I am by a building that probably looked great in it’s prime but just looks dated. To me those are two totally different things. And I tend to find unfortunate additions fascinating and a source of amusement, I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall while those decisions were being enthusiastically made.

From a real estate perspective your property has emotional value, but when it comes time to sell, that part doesn’t actually matter at all. Property is an asset, just like your stocks and financial assets, and the way it looks on the outside matters just as much as the way it looks on the inside. So keep that in mind when you are considering overlooking something when you’re a buyer. It will definitely matter to you when you want to sell in five {or seven or ten…} more years.

In honor of my strong aesthetic senses … and opinions, here are some of my ‘favorite’ ugly houses… the ones I might be able to forgive, and the ones that I just want to meet the people who bought them so that I can find out more about these fascinating humans with horrible taste {joking… but not really}.

gattica house

Every time I see this building all I think of is that sci-fi movie Gattaca. I can’t be alone in thinking that this building is ugly. But at least three people don’t agree because the units sold. I need to meet these people, they are just as fascinating to me as everyone who seems to think crocs are an amazing footwear invention.


I don’t even know what to say about this building. It’s brand new and just about complete. Maybe the interior spaces look good but seriously – who can get past this exterior? You know that saying ‘a face only a mother can love?’ I think that rings true here as well. Not. Good.

uh nineties

I feel like this building is a great example of something that was probably considered really beautiful and current – thirty years ago. I would forgive this building’s dated look far more easily than the two previous images in this post. Also, from an Architectural point of view this building would be far easier to renovate to help it look current again which would add far more value than a new but already ugly building that will be harder to improve over time.

ugly building tear down

I laugh a little to myself every time I see this gem. I just feel like, without a doubt whoever built it was so excited and super passionate about their house. But just the same way that the most amazing kitchen or living room is going to look super outdated twenty years later if nothing changes, this baby is one amazing time capsule. I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a tear down, which is what it’s being marketed/sold as, but when you consider the amount of money it would take to transform the building it may be more cost effective just to knock it down a start over.

ugly house addition 1_final

These houses are a great example of buildings that don’t necessarily look so bad, but have had not so fantastic additions. In case you couldn’t figure it out on your own I added helpful dashed lines for where the original stops and the new starts…I honestly don’t even know what to say about them other than give a slightly puzzled look and exasperated sigh… not the best.

It’s really interesting to me that “improving” a property can add to it’s value even in the improvement isn’t really that good. Just look at the endless number of DIY Home Depot kitchen and bath renovations that are on the market right now. The designer in my cringes every time. Personally I think that the world should re-evaluate that, I strongly believe that not all updates or additions are actually improvements at all and that if you do a really bad job you should actually offer a discount.

But essentially, the value of your property is what it’s worth compared to what else is available on the market at the same time, not any other buildings or spaces. It’s really fascinating to me actually. So, if it were me, I’d want to make sure any improvement I made was well designed and executed to make sure that I outshine all of the competition and get the most value from my property, and my investment, no matter when I put my house on the market.

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