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With Aging Population, Elevators More Popular in New Homes

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By Alison Burdo

Kathy Maris, 52, is relocating from her 3,800-square-foot Moorestown, N.J., home to Philadelphia with her husband. They considered two city townhouses with elevators, but didn’t place bids.

“I look at it as just another thing that could break down,” Maris said.

Reavy acknowledged that’s a possibility and suggests that buyers do their homework before purchasing. “If you buy a good product, you are going to have fewer problems,” he said, adding that service and lubrication contracts are available.

Brian Stetler, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, typically advises his clients to consider how much they will actually use the elevator before they buy. For some homeowners, it turns into a closet, he said.

“They put brooms, laundry baskets, and vacuum cleaners in them.” Stetler said. “But it is only storage on one floor.”

Outside the city limits, Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based Michael Cutler Builders Inc. is giving buyers an elevator option in four three-story, carriage-style townhouses under construction on Woodside Road in Ardmore, Pa.

If buyers don’t want the upgrade, the shaft provides additional closet space in the approximately 2,200-square-foot homes, said vice president Diane Cutler.

One concern, Stetler said: that the elevator will hinder resale since it takes away living space on narrow city lots. For example, a few townhouses in Society Hill’s Liberty Court have gone on and off the market in the last year because of space issues.

Regardless of potential drawbacks, Pincus said, “At a certain price range, an elevator is part of the deal.”

©2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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