Buying a Home: What to look for and what to look past

When you are ready to buy a home, whether it’s your first or it’s just been a while, it’s easy to get caught up in how the house looks right now.

Here’s what you can and usually should look past:

  1. The decor and furniture. We Realtors love to stage homes to give people an idea of what the rooms could be, but try hard to look past that decor, whether you love it or hate it, to see the space of the rooms and what you could do with it with your own style.
  2. Along those lines, paint and carpet (and even a hardwood floor refinish) are some of the easiest, fastest things you can change.
  3. Mismatched or old appliances can be changed out pretty easily, and if you can wait for a holiday sale, you can often find a deal on a new set.

Other things that could be changed, but might be more intensive than some want to get:

  1. Kitchen cabinets and counters
  2. Bathroom tile
  3. Major landscaping
  4. Updating trim (baseboards, etc.)
  5. Changing walls or opening up walls to create open spaces

These are all things that I have tackled and I know they can be done, but some people prefer a more “move in ready” house. However, it’s so rare that a house is 100% exactly as you would like it when you see it. Everyone has something they want to do to change a home.  If you see one that hits 80% or more of your “wants,” you should probably consider if you can live with the other 20% or change it to make it closer.

Here’s what you should definitely look for in a home:

  1. Is it in my budget? And if it needs fixes, are those in my budget? I am all for fixing up a home, but if you spend 100% of your budget on your monthly mortgage, you probably won’t have enough money left to do those fixes.
  2. Is it in the right location? Consider your commute times, school district, neighborhood features, and proximity to what’s important to you. It’s hard to change location!
  3. Does it have good bones? Can I make it the house I want (within my budget)? If you have a limited budget for fixes, and the home has foundation issues, electrical system needs updated and the plumbing needs replaced, this home may not be the right fit.

I hope this helps you as you consider buying a new home. I am happy to help you consider your “wants” list and help you try to see how homes might be an unexpected good fit. I can even hep you find contractors if needed. Or if you really want that completely move in ready house, let’s talk about updated, new build, and custom build homes!

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