Buying a home? Be willing to make cosmetic improvements.
If you are willing to invest a little time in cosmetic improvements, you will find more houses that fit your criteria and get a better deal in the process. This has always been true in my Atlanta market, but now it is even more so because many sellers do not have the cash on hand necessary to properly prepare their homes for the market. Minor cosmetic improvements that would dramatically change the appearance of the home, like removing outdated wallpaper and changing out worn carpet, are going undone.
Make cosmetic improvements after you purchase your new home and you will be creating equity. It is easier than ever to make cosmetic improvements after you purchase. Need the whole house painted in two days after the closing and before you move in…not a problem. Contractors are looking for work and have flexible schedules. Want to have the worn out kitchen cabinets yanked out and replaced with custom built modern cabinets with granite counter tops? Again, not a problem. If contractors can visit the house before closing and take measurements and make out material lists, they can swoop in after closing and make things happen in the blink of an eye. Another option is to move in and endure the outdated wallpaper for a year or so and then make cosmetic improvements as you can afford them.
Ugly ducklings that need cosmetic improvements provide the best buying opportunities. Buyers are paying a premium for turn key move in homes. Buyers are looking for all the improvements to be complete and are willing to pay top dollar for this convenience. If you are willing to go the do-it-yourself route, you can negotiate hard with the seller and then do the cosmetic improvements after you close.
Buyers have lots of options on the market place. Buyers can afford to be picky and if something does not suit them in a home, they just move on to the next house down the street. The owners of “ugly duckling” homes are left sitting without a lot of attention. Most of them are wondering why they never get asked to the dance. Along comes you, the savvy home buyer. You see that the ugly duckling can be morphed into the lovely swan. You express some interest in the house. But you also mention that there are a number of items that need to be changed to meet your standards. These changes cost money and naturally you would have to reflect these improvements in any offer you make. Many sellers have sat with the ugly duckling on the market for a year or more. They appreciate the attention. Some of them may be ready to give in to the market place and take an offer far outside their comfort zone. You, the savvy buyer walk into a “deal”
It is worth the effort to find an ugly duckling that needs cosmetic improvements. You are likely to find many great houses that simply need a few cosmetic improvements to meet your needs. Do a little investigation by talking with several remodeling contractors and vendors about any home improvement costs you foresee. You’ll be able to factor in these costs and make an informed offer that meets both your needs and the seller’s needs.
Preparation and flexibility are the keys to making wise and informed home-purchasing decisions. If you do your research, considering both emotional and financial requirements, you’ll be a better prepared buyer and get better results. Remember, finding value is less a function of luck than preparation, so make sure to use all the resources available to you. And, if you are willing consider options slightly outside your emotional boundaries, you will have a significantly larger pool of homes to consider than otherwise.
Now, get moving on that home buying decision. Good luck and happy house-hunting! Call Sally English 404-229-2995 and let us help you with house hunting.