A home purchase is a big decision and a big investment. Since many buyers wipe out their savings and sacrifice vacations to make a purchase happen, they seek a home that’s move-in ready, and they don’t want to waste their hard earned cash on a money pit.
Although buyers shouldn’t settle, they should approach each tour with an open mind and realize every house has its flaws.
So while they shouldn’t ignore obvious issues, such as a busted roof or cracks that indicate a foundation problem, some issues are worth overlooking when house hunting.
1. Odd paint color
Walking into a property and finding busy decor and oddly colored walls in every room is a major turnoff for some buyers. In the buyer’s mind, it’ll take weeks to undo a horrible paint job. Even so, the seller’s choice of wall color shouldn’t make or break the deal.
Some buyers take one look at a seller’s decor and conclude the property isn’t for them. But they’re forgetting one crucial fact: paint isn’t permanent. When a seller has a unique, odd taste, it can be hard for others to imagine the rooms a different color. But when buyers think with their mind’s eye and visualize the home with neutral tones, this can change their opinion of the property—for the better. While the present style and decor may be questionable, the home could offer the space and functionality a buyer needs.
2. Dated appliances
Old, yellow appliances make a kitchen look ugly and dated. And at first glance, most buyers mentally calculate the cost to update the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. But even when a home’s appliances are past their prime, the overall condition of the kitchen might be in good shape.
If your buyer is interested in making an offer on a property, let them know they can ask the seller to update certain appliances. A motivated seller is ready to move, so there’s a chance your buyer will get what he wants. But even if a seller doesn’t agree to updating the appliances, it doesn’t make sense for your buyer to walk away from the home, especially if it offers what he needs at an affordable price. He can gradually replace the appliances over the next few months or year.
3. Lack of curb appeal
The front yard is the first thing buyers see when they arrive at a home. If the yard’s been neglected, instinct can tell a buyer to leave without going inside the property. But just because the outside of a house needs work doesn't mean the inside requires the same amount of work. Sometimes, curb appeal is achievable without spending a lot of money. Some neglected yards only need a fresh-cut, trimmed edges and weeds pulled.
4. Old light fixtures
Old light fixtures can also make a home appear old and dated. The good news is that buyers can purchase simple, stylish replacement fixtures starting at under $100. These include fixtures for kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, outdoor lighting, plus there are several affordable options for ceiling fans and chandelier lights. Replacing an old light fixture with a modern one can dramatically transform the look of a room and better reflect a buyer’s style.
5. An older house
Some buyers think new is better and they assume an older home requires more work. Because of this mentality, they don’t give older homes their fair amount of attention. The reality is, an older home can be a good buy.
Older homes are often sturdier and built with better materials, yet they tend to cost less than newer homes. For example, buyers may discover that many older homes in the area have solid wood cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, whereas newer homes (despite a higher asking price) only have wood veneer. The cabinets in an older home may appear old, but in most cases they only need a little sanding and a fresh coat of paint or wood stain.
It’s not surprising why some buyers are hesitant to purchase older homes. There’s a higher risk for problems considering the home’s electrical and plumbing are older. But instead of skipping over these properties, encourage your buyers to take a serious look at these homes. And if they fall in love with a property, they can have a home inspection before purchasing the property, and make their offer contingent on a satisfactory report.
Home inspectors check a property’s roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical, appliances and HVAC system to make sure everything’s working and in good condition. For added protection, buyers can purchase a home warranty for the house which covers the repair or replacement cost of issues that might arise after moving in.
6. Old carpet
Buyers shouldn’t let the condition of the flooring influence their opinion of a property. Dirty, stained carpet is disgusting, and buyers may cringe with every step. But flooring is replaceable. If the carpet has seen better days, buyers can ask sellers to shampoo the carpet before the final walkthrough, or they can request a credit at closing to cover the cost of replacing the carpet.
If you are willing to overlook a few easy home upgrades, finding your dream home may be easier than you think!
Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.