Here’s a story you’ll hear often when visiting owners of modern homes: "We love our house, but when we sell it, we know the new owners will tear it down or redo it to death. The land is valuable, and buyers prefer Tuscan."
But what if there were a way to reach the growing number of modern fans, avoiding Tuscan lovers entirely? A matchmaking service for modern homes linking sympathetic buyers and sellers and making both happy?
"It’s a big concern in the architectural real-estate community—–people buying the land for its value, then bulldozing," says Brian Linder, the Los Angeles broker whose website, the Value of Architecture, is one of several that are trying to function as modern matchmakers. "My goal," he says, "is to form a network of architectural Realtors nationwide."
Linder is making a push, focusing on Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle. But broad swaths of the West Coast are still uncharted. "We don’t have a business model for it per se," he says. "We’re just a network of like-minded Realtors."
A national network of such sites would empower design-minded home buyers making cross-country moves, or just moves across town, and help bolster an industry that’s seriously flagging. It would also encourage a brand of popular preservation, so when an endangered home swims into view, like a recent Rudolph Schindler that’s in such sad shape it might face destruction, those inclined toward to the modern cause will get a crack at it before the wrecking ball does.
Dave Weinstein is a freelance writer who penned the "Modern Real Estate 101" article that appeared in the October 2009 issue. He spends his spare time walking his spaniel through architecturally interesting neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area and is an active preservationist, most notably for his hometown's art deco jewel, the Cerrito Theater.