There is no perfect house. No matter how hard you look or how
many homes your real estate agent shows you, getting everything you
want when buying a home -- and getting it in perfect condition --
Even new homes will have a feature or two you may not like and
will want to change.
If you've ever toured homes for sale, or watched hard-to-please
homebuyers on HGTV's "House Hunters," you know there are always
kitchen cabinets that are outdated, pink walls to be repainted or
bathroom wallpaper that looks like it is 100 years old.
After shopping around for the lowest
, you don't want to walk away from a house you like because it
needs a few minor repairs, real estate experts say. The repair's
price should be factored into what you're paying for the home, and
mortgage lenders can help you pull money out of a home sale. For
example, sellers may contribute to the repair bills, and some
mortgages, like an
FHA 203(k) loan
, factor repair costs into the overall loan amount.
Sep Niakan, a real estate broker in Miami, says he's had clients
walk away from homes because they can't see past minor flaws.
"Many buyers want to see an end product. They don't have a
vision for what it could be with just a couple of tweaks," Niakan
Buyers: 8 flaws to ignore
So before you decide to cross a house off your list, here eight
minor home flaws that shouldn't deter you from buying a home:
No. 1: Unappealing paint.
This is one of the easiest and cheapest fixes, especially if you do
it yourself. Don't let someone's poor taste in paint colors
convince you not to buy. Most buyers who Niakan has worked with
would rather pay a premium for a house that doesn't need fixes than
take the time and money to do the repairs themselves. That's true
even when the changes will cost less than a "perfect" house, he
says. Even buyers of premium homes that don't need many changes
still alter the home after they move in, Niakan says, and painting
is often the first change.
"It's very, very rare for a buyer to buy a house and not
personalize it in some way," he says.
Go green when renovating: Choose deconstruction
No. 2: Outdated wallpaper.
Grandma may have liked the red velvet wallpaper, but maybe you
don't. It will take work to remove old wallpaper, but it's easy to
No. 3: Tired kitchen cabinets.
Cabinet refacing can be done inexpensively and make your old
cabinets look new.
No. 4: Unfashionable wall-to-wall mirrors.
They might have been hip in the 1970s or 80s, but now they are
eyesores that can be removed and replaced with paint.
No. 5: Drab window treatments.
They may be one of the first things you notice when you walk into a
house. You can either offer them to the old owners, or easily throw
them out and buy whatever you want to replace them.
No. 6: Broken air conditioners or furnaces.
While it's a major expense to buy a new one, some fixes are
inexpensive. A pump for a boiler, for example, may cost a mere
$250, so having to fix one shouldn't necessarily stop you from
buying an otherwise good home, says Jerry Grodesky, a real estate
agent just outside Chicago.
"It is a perception that people have and they start
hyperventilating about the most minor, inconsequential things,"
No. 7: A lack of closet doors.
"I've seen buyers walk away from a house because the closet doors
are missing," Grodesky says. "And I'm like, 'Do you realize how
minimal a fix that is?'"
No. 8: Bathroom grout discoloring.
Buyers who see this may mistake it as the sign of a moldy house.
While mildew can lead to problems, have the home inspector check if
it's something that can be fixed with a little scrubbing.
It's a buyer's market out there, but homebuyers are still more
cautious than they were before the recession, Grodesky says. That
said, you shouldn't be so tentative that you let a few minor
repairs prevent you from buying the house you want. Negotiating the
fixes into the price of the home will make the repairs easier to
swallow, although today's low home prices and rock-bottom
should be enough incentive, he says.
"If you're getting a deal, then you can be a little more
forgiving in what you see in the house," he says.