Dated linoleum. Tacky wallpaper. Most people are turned off by small details when shopping for a home. Our advice? Don’t be this person. Especially if you’re having trouble finding a home in a hot market.
We get it. Buying a house is a big deal. Savings accounts are emptied, vacations are sacrificed. So everyone wants 100% move-in-ready digs. But, the truth is, every house has flaws. Even the one that’s $30k over budget. The key is to keep the flaws minimal. We’re not talking about a crumbling roof or cracks in the foundation — just aesthetic stuff, like carpet, appliances and dreaded wallpaper.
Every house has flaws. Just keep them minimal.
Rule #1. Paint isn’t permanent. Here’s a trick — before you visit an open house, hop on Pinterest (or the medium of your choice) and look at what you like. Then, when you’re in the home, use that as a filter. If you look at the house in your dream state and it’s still not working? Walls need knocked down? Maybe not the house for you. But if it’s priced right and everything else is good, don’t let a little paint ruin the dream.
Did you know it’s possible to ask a seller to replace an old, yellowing fridge? Or any appliance for that matter? A motivated seller is ready to move, so there’s a chance you could get the kitchen upgrades you’re looking for. Even if they won’t budge, it may not make sense to walk away from the home, especially if most other items are in order. Once you move in, you can gradually replace the appliances over the next year. After you buy the new ones, you’ll likely forget just how bad the old ones were. Really.
Your instinct may tell you to leave (or scroll past) without seeing the inside of these types of properties, but a neglected curb view doesn’t mean the inside requires the same amount of work. Just take a look. If you’re running out of options, it can’t hurt. And remember, landscaping is sometimes one of the easiest (read: cheapest) things to fix. Imagine the home with a freshly-mowed lawn with trimmed edges and weeds pulled. Does that solve it? If so, curb appeal may be a non-issue.
Old and dated interior? What if that vintage ceiling fan were gone? Or the gaudy chandelier were replaced with a bright and modern pendant? With starting prices under $100, replacing light fixtures is super simple and cost-effective way to both literally and figuratively bring new light to your space.
Some buyers think new is better. But make sure you’re not losing out on what may actually be a great home and a good buy just because of age.
In fact, older homes are often sturdier and built with better materials, yet they tend to cost less than newer homes. Solid wood cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms instead of wood veneer? They may look old, but in most cases all you need is a little sanding and a fresh coat of paint or wood stain.
Of course, with any house that is not brand new, there is a higher risk for issues with electrical and plumbing. But that’s what your inspection is for. So go ahead and look at that older home. If you fall in love, you can make your offer contingent on a clear home inspection report, which will include things like the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical, appliances and HVAC system. For added protection, you can buy a home warranty.
Let’s be honest. Dirty carpet is disgusting. But that doesn’t mean you need to cringe with every step. The great thing is, like paint color, flooring is easily changeable. And if it just needs a light cleaning, you can ask a seller to shampoo the carpet before the final walkthrough, or simply request a credit at closing to cover the cost of replacing the carpet.
So there it is — if you’re willing to overlook a few easy home upgrades, finding your dream home may be easier than you think!