My son is now looking to buy his first home. He asked me to help him and I jumped at the chance to do what I do best-design. We have seen everything from well kept ranchers to 4 bedroom fixer-uppers. I want to share some nuggets of the advice and visions I gave him after each house visit -usually in the car as we were driving to the next one on his list. I will hit the highlights of our conversations that can help those of you looking to purchase a home.
I have always stated that a fresh coat of paint is easy to do and can cover a multitude of sins from previous owners. Also, if the colors do not flow from room to room, the house may seem chaotic and chopped up. My son will get my”color walk through” service when he picks the home he wants to give it harmony and cohesion without major remodeling. Always inspect the walls before painting for signs of foundation shifting/cracking or mold presence. These issues could be a deal breaker.
Many houses on the market are a little dated. They can become more current with the addition of a few new things. Consider changing door knobs, hinges and cabinet hardware to a more modern finish. Replace interior doors with new 6 panel doors. Change out light fixtures in the ceiling, at the front door and over the bathroom vanity. Carpets that are in bad shape can be replaced or changed to laminate/hardwood floors. They are long lasting and easier for people with allergies especially if the previous owner had pets.
As far as the structure of the house goes, enlist a home inspector to look for things you would not normally notice. They check roofs, utility systems and foundations for any issues that could potentially become a costly repair for the new owner.
Here is my point. I tell my clients that it takes 3-5 years to make a house a “home”. When you are considering purchasing a home, you need to try and see beyond its current décor to what you would like it to be. If it is the size and style you want and is structurally safe, you can move in and slowly change the décor to put your personal style on it. Make your own 3 year plan for remodeling.
Repairs and replacements that are beyond the scope of interior design need to be looked at differently. Necessary repair costs need to be addressed along with the price of the home. For the house of your choice, make a list of what needs to be done and get prices for those items . Consider that cost in relation to the asking price of a home and what you will offer to the seller. Stay within your budget.
Well, there are three more houses on my son’s list to look at tonight. Maybe one of these will “the one”. We shall see.