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Weiss says younger buyers—especially people who have lived in lofts in New York City or in California, where contemporaries are more common—tend to be more open to these houses.

Eileen Meehan, another area agent, says some buyers want “simple, clean lines” and an open layout, rather than traditional homes. But many of those buyers seem to prefer midcentury modern homes, built in the 1950s and 1960s, to the angular, wood-and-glass contemporary homes built in the 1970s, which can seem tired if they haven’t been renovated, she says.

Other agents agree that updating can make the difference in a sale. Weiss, for example, recently listed a four-bedroom contemporary home for $1.5 million. The house quickly drew several offers, in part because the previous owners had spent a lot of money extensively upgrading the home, with a new pool and waterfall, outdoor kitchen and koi pond, among other improvements, she says.

The Kabakibis’ home, which is on 2.2 acres, is on the market now for $1.6 million, down from $3.5 million in 2004, before the housing crash, when the couple had it on the market for a time. Rooms are arranged around the central atrium—a ballroom, dining room, five sitting rooms and an eat-in kitchen with a greenhouse-type ceiling that also allows light to stream in. The house offers five bedrooms upstairs and a nanny/in-law suite.

The listing agent, Lisa Uvanni Tannenbaum, says the home is a bargain, since “teardowns”—homes bought mostly for the property—go for about $800,000 an acre in the Franklin Lakes area. And there’s a house nearby on the market for $12 million.

Most of the homes in the neighborhood are traditional, especially colonials, which is what many Franklin Lakes buyers want. But Tannenbaum says she has gotten some interest in the modern house from a large extended family that might turn the ballroom into a first-floor master suite.

“You have to find the right person,” Tannenbaum says.

©2015 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.