Home & Family
Don't Judge a Home by Its Wall Cover
7/8/2013 2:18:08 PM

Finding a home that measures up to the expectations and still fits the budget of most first-time homebuyers can be challenging, but Tammy Ardoin, ABR, real estate agent with Century 21 Bessette Realty, Inc., says it’s important to look past surface cosmetic issue to see a home’s real potential. "Don’t make the mistake of assuming things like ugly wallpaper, dingy carpet, faded paint or overgrown landscaping mean the home isn’t worth considering. These could actually help you get a well-built home at a lower price and these surface issues can be easily changed.”

She adds that is you’re looking for a home in a seller's market like we will be experiencing here as the result of the economic boom taking place in Southwest Louisiana, you can’t be too picky if you want to make a competitive offer on available home in your price range.

One of the first things to do is to get pre-approved for a loan and determine the maximum you can afford to offer for a house, advises Ardoin. "Don't look at homes priced more than 5 percent above your maximum, otherwise you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you find the perfect home you can’t afford.”

Before you start visiting homes, Ardoin recommends developing a check list of those home features that are most important to you, and prioritize those elements. "Go through this list as you walk through the homes and evaluate these elements objectively as you walk through the home. Is it a structural feature you can’t change without a huge expense, or is it a cosmetic issue that can be easily changed with a little effort

Ardoin suggests the following list of easy-to-correct features for objective consideration:

Walls.  While these are among the easiest to remedy, they also make a huge first impression. If the walls need to be painted, are covered in wallpaper or are painted a color you don’t like, imagine how they’ll look crisp and clean in the color of your choice.

Floors. Like walls, shabby and outdated carpet or floor surfaces can be easily replaced. You could even ask for a carpet allowance in your bid.

Windows. Old, ugly or dirty windows and window treatments can make a home feel dark and a view appear less desirable. Fortunately, these are a quick fix.

Landscaping. Overgrown landscaping is easily trimmed back or even pulled out. If there’s not landscaping, consider it a blank slate to fill in the way you want it..

Storage. You can never have too much storage space, but having too little is often a concern. Smaller homes often have less, but there are many ways to creatively add storage in unexpected places, so this does not have to be a deal breaker.

Garages. Many older homes have garages that have been converted into a bedroom or storage area. If you encounter one of these, don't give up. Converted garages can almost always go back to their original purpose without much cost or labor.

Kitchen. Don't let outdated appliances and color schemes deter if you like the rest of the house. There's nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make a kitchen your own, and you can add new appliances, countertops and cabinets as your budget allows.

Exterior. If the home doesn't have good curb appeal, try to picture it with a fresh coat of paint, new shutters, and revitalized landscaping.

Ardoin says to be sure you hire a professional home inspector to inspect the house for any problems that would be a much more serious concern. If the home's systems are in good working order and if it has everything you want except a minor item or two, she says it’s time to make your best offer.

"Unless you're building your dream home from scratch, you'll probably never find the perfect home,” stresses Ardoin. "But seeing past the wear-and-tear and the previous owner's bad decorating choices to the core of the home and its potential for livability can help you find the home you've always wanted. It may take some work, but it’s your home.”

For home-buying assistance, contact Bessette Realty at (337) 474-2185 or visit www.century21-bessette.com.

Posted by: Kristy Armand | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Decorating  |  Home  |  Real Estate

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