There really is no such thing as a perfect Windsor home. No matter how hard a buyer looks for that top of the line kitchen, on a cul-de sac, with 3 car garage, home office and separate in-law quarters, they are bound to be disappointed in one area or another.
This is why I suggest that all buyers make a “Wish List,” and a separate list with “Must Have’s.” Let’s take the property I described above. What would be completely necessary? Would it be the kitchen, garage? Cul de sac? Or what may not be necessary, but would be nice, such as a home office or separate in-law quarters. Buyers need to make sacrifices all of the time when touring and looking at properties. Not all homes, in fact, most homes, don’t look like they should be on the cover of a magazine or will be decorated to your exact taste. Don’t walk away from a house just because you don’t like the wallpaper or it has some minor flaws. Here are some items that you should overlook:
1. Bad paint:
This has to be the cheapest and easiest decorating tool a buyer can do, especially if you do it yourself. A gallon of paint can completely transform a room in a day. So while a bright red dining room might not be your thing, sit back and imagine it a colour that you prefer. Ignore the bad paint and understand that this is easy to fix.
2. Outdated wallpaper:
Yes. We have seen it time and time again. Buyers turn and walk out of a room that has wallpaper from the 80’s. Again, this is an inexpensive fix. Instead of looking at dated wallpaper, look instead at the features. Maybe it has great crown moldings, or windows that bring in lots of light. Imagine again that the wallpaper is gone and painted in your colour of choice. In a matter of a few days this room could be decorated to your complete satisfaction without breaking the bank.
3. Dated kitchen cabinets:
It’s one of the first things a buyer sees when they walk into the kitchen: the kitchen cabinets. But before you balk at the dated cabinets, imagine them with a coat of paint. Or maybe they can be refaced and some current hardware can be added. Again, take a step back and imagine making this not-so-costly repair, especially if this kitchen and home offers many of the items you want on your “must have” list.
4. Dated wall to wall mirrors:
These were very big in the 1980’s. Almost all new construction included mirrored walls in the master bathrooms and bedrooms. But again, these can be easily removed and repainted.
5. Old window treatments:
Window coverings are always a very personal item. Most buyers don’t like the treatments that are in a home and will almost always change them. So this may be true in any home that you visit. Of course, these are easy to take down and you can buy what you want to replace. Even temporary shades may work well until your budget allows you to find what you want.
6. Broken Furnaces or Air Conditioners:
Yes, buying a new one is expensive, yet some repairs may be inexpensive. Until you talk to your home inspector and follow-up with a repairman for a quote, don’t assume the worst case scenario. Talk with your real estate agent about how you can work with the sellers to find a way to fix this issue if the home is what you truly want. This does not have to be a deal breaker.
Because of all of the wonderful television shows that are focused on beautiful homes, buyers truly believe they can get a model home with everything they need. I always tell buyers, particularly first time home buyers, to lower their expectations if they find a great home in a great neighbourhood but some works needs to be done. If the repairs and updates are not costly, then by no means should you walk away. Remember, it really is about location, location, location, so finding a home where you can see yourself spending many happy years despite the fact that it has ugly paint or a 1970’s looking bathroom only mean that these can be replaced and updated. These are simple fixes and keep in mind, that no matter what home you move into, you will be bound to decorate more to your liking anyway. Always look at the bigger picture.