Most people don’t go looking for a project house when they set out to buy a new home. You probably want something that won’t require a ton of work before it feels like your space, but there are some unsightly features that are worth overlooking, especially if you are hoping to score the deal of a lifetime on your new home.
Here are a few things you may want to try hard to look past, plus the reasons why they aren’t really that important in the grand scheme of things.
As much as gaudy paint changes the look of a space, you can remedy this issue in a weekend and with a pretty small investment and little previous experience if you set your mind to it. In fact, you might even look at awful paint colors as an opportunity to put your own stamp on a new house right away.
Even if you decide to hire a professional to paint your new home’s interior for you, it is still fairly affordable, and it can generally be completed in short order.
This may seem like a deal breaker, but you should know that you have options. Cabinets you hate don’t automatically mean the entire kitchen or bathroom needs to be remodeled to achieve a look that doesn’t nauseate you.
Cabinets can be refinished to achieve a look that suits your tastes better. There are several kits and types of paint out there to help you achieve the look you desire with minimal investment of both money and time. You can add or remove trim, even, to give the doors a style update. Changing out cabinet hardware is a great way to quickly update them, as well, and you can probably achieve that sort of transformation in under a half hour.
Even if it’s the countertops you’re concerned about, there are products that can make them more visually appealing. While you can’t magically turn laminate into granite, you can get rid or a gaudy, out of date color with a fairly small output of effort, at least until there’s room in the budget to replace them.
Bad flooring can be a real turn-off. Especially when you’re looking at grimy carpet, it’s a tough feature to imagine living with while home shopping. The good news is that flooring is usually fairly easily replaced, and while it can get costly if you use expensive materials, there are plenty of very attractive and inexpensive flooring options on the market today. Ugly hardwood floors can usually be refinished rather than replaced, as well.
On top of the fact that it isn’t usually a big deal to put in new flooring, you may find that some sellers (especially when floors are in bad shape) are willing to provide a flooring budget in the terms of your contract so that you can get those taken care of at little to no cost to you.
An Uninspired Façade
While your first impression tends to come from a potential new home’s curb appeal, don’t let it affect your decision too much. There are several ways you can update the exterior of your potential new home in small ways to make a big impact.
One of the easiest ways you can jazz up the exterior of a new home is to simply clean it up. Power wash the driveway and exterior, make the yard neat by carefully mowing and removing weeds around structures, and trim trees and hedges to spruce up the landscaping.
You can also tackle small projects that make a big difference in how the outside of a home looks. For instance, you can paint doors and shutters to add visual interest, or you can even replace them with new versions that are a little more your style. If you despise the exterior color but the siding is in great shape, you might look into how much painting it would cost. You can also add visual appeal by updating the landscaping.
Old, ugly faucets can be a real downer, and when the finish on them is in poor shape, they tend to never look clean. If you’ve checked out a house with ancient fixtures and decided you don’t want to live with them, no big deal.
It doesn’t require much work to update plumbing fixtures such as bathroom taps, shower heads, or kitchen taps. You can buy trendy new versions at a local home store, and they’ll even help teach you how to properly install them.
Other fixtures that are easily replaced include bathroom mirrors or medicine cabinets, towel bars, and shower curtain rods.
Lots of houses have dated light fixtures. However, they aren’t anything you should be too concerned about when you’re home shopping. New light fixtures can be had for cheap, and they aren’t too tough to replace so long as you purchase fixtures of a similar type. The same goes for ceiling fans, and depending on the location and the type of fixture currently in place, you may be able to replace lights with ceiling fan/light combos with little effort.
Even if you’re not comfortable installing them yourself, it won’t take an electrician much time at all to simply replace a fixture with one that appeals to your tastes.
Deciding When It’s Worth it to Update a Potential New Home
If you are dead set on a move-in ready home and you’re willing to pay for it (and maybe wait for it), it’s likely that none of this applies to you, but if you’re willing to give, here are a couple things you should consider.
One factor that you should keep in mind when you’re considering updating a home immediately after purchasing it is the type of return on investment you’ll get from a project. Many of the projects above, if done well, will earn you quite a bit of sweat equity right out of the gate, making your new home instantly worth more than you paid for it.
Another thing you may consider is whether the house has good bones. If a home is structurally sound and the important things like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC are in great shape, putting the extra effort in is likely worth it. If the house is in sad shape overall, there’s probably no sense in putting lipstick on that particular pig.