Tired of taking care of your large estate property? Maybe you want to move to Pasadena or another popular area but are looking for something other than a maintenance-heavy home? The lock and leave lifestyle may be for you. Lock and leave is one of the hottest trends in real estate today, as people in major markets all across the country seek this coveted way of life. So what’s behind the trend? Here are 5 things we learned from Coldwell Banker Previews Inside Out’s recent feature that reinforce the lock and leave trend in Pasadena.
A nationwide trend
“It’s happening everywhere. I was just in New York City for a conference with many luxury real estate agents who represent the top 1% in the country, and we all agreed that the major trend driving the luxury real estate market right now is the lock and leave lifestyle,” said Wendy Walker, top-producing agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Arizona’s Paradise Valley, in Previews Inside Out.
That explains what’s happening in many of L.A.’s top neighborhoods. Developer ETCO Homes recently introduced Villas at the Ambassador Gardens, luxury condos in Pasadena offering up to 3,317 square feet with open floorplans, gourmet kitchens, great rooms, private terraces, four-car garages, and private elevators in each unit.
“We’re seeing tremendous interest from buyers who love the fact that they can have a modern floorplan, all the upscale features and amenities they want, and a great location, with the freedom they may have been missing in a large, maintenance-heavy property,” said Patrice Quishenberry, Vice President of Sales for ETCO Homes. “People who live in Pasadena don’t tend to want to move. So, if they’re ready to simplify their life while still maintaining their high standards of taste, it makes sense they would be looking at Villas, and that’s been reflected in our sales.”
Baby boomers embracing this trend
Not surprisingly, this trend has been largely propped up by baby boomers who are increasingly looking to trade in their high-maintenance homes for something that puts the emphasis on luxury but without the upkeep.
High net-worth individuals and “homeowners who have larger, older estate properties” want less maintenance, more amenities, and quality, new high-end finishes, said Walker. “They also want to minimize the upkeep and maintenance expenses associated with the larger estates and the grounds.” And, baby boomers love travel, “so, the lock and leave lifestyle is very attractive to them,” said Walker.
But, it’s not just baby boomers
Millennials have also proven to be fans of the the lock and leave lifestyle. Many of these luxury condos in Pasadena and across the country provide high-end buyers with the opportunity to get into a coveted neighborhood and enjoy all of the advantages of residing there while being able to maintain their lifestyle.
“We’re also seeing millennials being more driven by location,” said Walker. “They don’t want the upkeep either, nor do they want to be bound to a larger property. They also enjoy the idea of travel and being on the go.”
The desire for walkability is universal
The ability to take a short stroll from home to great restaurants, shops, cultural outlets, and nightlife is important to many buyers today, and that walkability is attracting people to high-end condos in Pasadena and other top cities. Buyers in this market “don’t want to drive a great distance to enjoy the necessities,” she said. “They just want to…park their car and have the walkability to the things they enjoy.”
Other key drivers of this trend, according to Walker: “New, high quality finishes and access to amenities. Affluent buyers…want to have access to a pool, but not the upkeep of pool. They want a view, but they don’t need to live on an acre for that view. They are also very much driven by quality finishes. Before, “value” might have been defined by acreage, status or the size of your house, but now people are willing to pay a higher price per square foot if the lifestyle and quality is there.”
Also, some buyers—namely, baby boomers—may reject a property that has certain features, like stairs. Walker’s assertion that it’s “extremely difficult to sell a two-story with stairs” in her marketplace is echoed by baby boomers buying real estate in Pasadena and other cities. “If it does have two stories, it must have an elevator.” Villas as the Ambassador Gardens’ elevators, which come standard in every luxury condo in Pasadena, have been a strong draw for buyers.