It’s easy to fall in love with a dapper kitchen trimmed with gorgeous white cabinets, stainless steel and subway tile à la HGTV. But, what do you do when you’re shopping for a home and all you see is blindingly yellow oak cabinets, pale green refrigerators and peeling brown linoleum?
Remember, even the most abominable homes have potential. And, if you see potential where no one else does, you could get a great deal on a home.
Here are three tricks to help you infuse a little imagination into the process when you’re home shopping.
- Look at the Size of the Room & Its Potential
This may seem elementary, but seriously – step back and take a look at what a particular room has to offer. Maybe the living room is gigantic, but you’re having trouble getting past the wall-to-wall carpet. Keep in mind that a particular space can offer you a lot. For example, envision where you’re likely to place your coffee table or your favorite couch.
Perhaps giant rooms that need a lot of work aren’t for you. Some people prefer a large space with a lot of potential and others don’t mind a tiny space that’s decorated beautifully. In fact, the tiny kitchen you don’t have to remodel could be far preferable because you’ll save yourself the cost of remodeling. Sometimes, knowing what you want is half the battle.
If remodeling is in your future, you’ll need to budget for it. Start by determining how much it will cost and how you want it to happen. Before you even start worrying about buying the right homeowners insurance, replacing the appliances or what color furniture you should choose for the bedroom, the renovations that are vital might take a big bite out of your wallet.
- Use Virtual Staging Technology
It’s the 21st century, so you might as well take advantage of it. Ask your real estate agent whether he or she can help you envision a space with virtual staging; or, invest in the technology yourself.
Virtual staging technology is a way to actually visualize what could happen with a home. For example, let’s say you knocked out a wall, opened up the great room and bought new furniture. Whatever it might be, you’ll be able to see it transform before your eyes on a computer. You’ve probably seen virtual staging on TV, and the designs are amazingly realistic.
For instance, a virtual staging company can change flooring, walls, cabinets and more. Existing furniture can be removed and you can even get virtual construction help. This might be a good option if you’re having trouble imagining the possibilities.
- Be Open-Minded
Stay open-minded. Better yet, look for the positives in every single home you tour; this will help you see every home’s potential, as well as evaluate what you’re looking for.
While it’s easy to quickly point out the negatives of a home, these can often be changed with a dash of DIY and a coat of paint. Instead, look at the “bones” of the house to get a feel for its layout, structure, size and more.
The more homes you look at, the more you’ll realize what’s good and bad about each home so you can see past green laminate countertops and 1980s popcorn ceilings.
Think Outside the Box
If necessary, bring in an expert. For example, if you just can’t get past the circular fireplace in the middle of the room, pull in someone who can help you see the potential – particularly if the home has everything else you want and need. Plus, an expert doesn’t even have to be a professional. A creative friend or family member can also help you see beyond the interior design disasters.
Finally, don’t let online photos deter you from a particular home. These can be notoriously bad and dated. You could be missing out on a gorgeous fireplace or a grand staircase. Ultimately, there’s nothing like being there, so be sure to walk through the properties that interest you.