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How to see the potential in a home

Blog by Kim Twohey | May 16th, 2018

Professional photographs, expertly staged interiors, and immaculate landscaping have become the norm in residential real estate and for good reason!  Homes that show well typically sell faster and for more money than those that have not been prepped as thoroughly.  Many Buyers expect to see homes at their best and can be put off by properties that are in disarray.  It can be difficult to see the true potential of a house when it is hidden behind old fixtures and clutter.  Some Buyers will even refuse to tour a home that is messy.  By not giving these homes a chance, Buyers may be missing out on a wonderful home and a great investment.  Here are a few tips to help you see the potential in a home that is being sold “as is”. 

1.            Look beyond the stuff

When touring a home that is filled to the rafters with clutter, try to look beyond it and imagine your own things in the space.  Instead of paying attention to excess, focus on the layout and general condition of the home like the cabinets, fixtures, and flooring. 

2.            Get measurements

It can be difficult to see the true potential in a home when you cannot get an accurate impression of how much space there is.  Ask your Realtor for a floorplan of the house that includes dimensions.  You can use this to get a better idea of how much space each area of the home offers.  Since a cluttered room can look much smaller than it actually is, this exercise often yields pleasant surprises!

3.            Make an effort to ignore anything that is not permanent

Stains, odors, broken fixtures, and weeds will not be a part of the home forever.  Even though it can be difficult, try to ignore these things when touring a house.  Remind yourself that things can be cleaned and removed.  Just because the house is in poor condition when you view it, does not mean it will stay that way once you own it. 

4.            Ask your Realtor for help

When touring a messy or unkempt home, ask your Realtor to help you see the potential and the problems!  The trained eye of an experienced Realtor can help you to separate easily remedied cosmetic issues from more serious problems that may require extensive repairs.

5.            Get a home inspection

A home inspection is always recommended and is especially prudent when buying a home where there may be hidden issues.  A great home inspector also has the training and background needed to see beyond cosmetic inadequacies and identify areas that need attention.  Take the time to attend the inspection so that you can peek behind the walls and learn more about what the house has to offer and what needs to be addressed.

6.            Budget accordingly

Even if the house is in generally good condition, a home that has not been well-maintained may require some upfront investment in the form of clearing out debris, cleaning, repainting, and landscaping.  Talk to your Realtor about what chores would need to be handled immediately and get estimates on how much it would cost to hire someone.  Depending on the market, you may be able to get the house for less than the asking price.  If that is the case, you can set aside the money you saved and use it for future improvement projects.    

Buying a home that is not in picture perfect condition can be a bit tougher but equally exciting as buying a property that looks like a show home. With the right perspective and a good Realtor, you just might uncover a hidden gem!