If you’re a frequent watcher of any type of real estate or home show, you’ve probably seen at least a few people who seem to nitpick the smallest details. Don’t get me wrong: when it comes to buying a home, you shouldn’t settle for something you’re going to hate or something that isn’t going to work for you or your family.
When looking at homes and determining whether or not they’ll work, it’s a good idea to keep a running pro/con list. This is a good way to keep your likes and dislikes together in one place.
There are always going to be certain elements that can make or break a home for any potential buyer: not enough space, unappealing location, questionable construction, etc. These are elements that shouldn’t be overlooked when determining whether a home is right.
With that being said, however, there are a few superficial things that first-time homebuyers can get caught up that should really, for the most part, be ignored.
This can be one of the quickest deterrents for choosing a home, but it’s one of the easiest to change. Color makes a big impact—for better or for worse—and can be used to evoke certain emotions. Maybe you’re a neutral wall lover and you just simply can’t get past the lime green kitchen or the orange bathroom. While it’s certainly much more difficult to envision yourself living in a home with an unappealing color palette, at the end of the day, investing in some fresh paint or wallpaper that’s more your style is all it takes to make the color more you.
If you’re looking for a move-in ready home, every little element that doesn’t seem you enough can get frustrating. However, if you find yourself thinking something along the lines of, This house would be perfect if the carpet wasn’t so hideous, remember that unlike architectural issues, cosmetic flaws (such as paint color or ugly carpeting) can be fixed without necessarily being time-consuming or expensive. This could also be the perfect opportunity for changing up the flooring with hardwood, for example.
Kitchens are such a pivotal room in most homes that they can often make or break a sale. Size, counter space, and storage can all be incredibly important as a home buyer, and these things can’t always be changed or accommodated. However, if you’re put off by a kitchen’s outdated appliances, ugly countertops, or cabinet hardware, these are all things that can be changed to really transform the room! Appliances can be replaced, as can countertops, and cabinets can be refinished with some new stain or paint (if you want). Something as small as replacing the cabinet hardware can make a noticeable difference.
Every home is different, as is every homeowner. And sometimes this means that sellers have spaces that you might consider unusual. A dining room-turned home gym? A bedroom just for the family dog? Or maybe a half office, half makeup room. While these spaces may seem strange to you now (not everyone needs a spare bedroom to be a walk-in closet), you can transform them into whatever type of space you want. When the seller takes their gym equipment with them when they move out, you just need a table and chairs to turn it back into a dining room. Or a couch to make it another sitting room. Or maybe you want the dining room to be your dog’s bedroom. I mean, your house, your design, right?
Here’s something to remember when looking for your new home: if it’s the seller’s, it’s not going to be yours. Or, at least it doesn’t have to be. We always recommend sellers to “neutralize” their home when staging rooms like the master bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, so decor and personal touches don’t cause distractions. It can be difficult to overlook a lot of personalization when you’re a buyer, but you should try. If you don’t like the seashells in the bathroom or the taxidermy in the den, or if the bedrooms are overly cluttered, it can be hard to see the potential. But if you like the location, the floorplan, and the home itself is in good condition, that’s what you should focus on. Of course, it’s also important to make sure that none of the seller’s décor is hiding non-superficial flaws, too.
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.