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Don't Disregard a House Based on Cosmetic Faults

​Are you searching for a new place to call home? It might sound obvious, but in considering listings you should always remember to focus on things that you can't change (at least not easily), such as the location, price, size, and serious repairs. Although items like these correctly fall into the category of "potential deal breakers", it's also unfortunately common for buyers to get hung up on easily-fixable, cosmetic issues. You might think you're immune to this, but things like unpleasant colors or outdated fixtures can be hard to ignore since they are integral to your subconscious impression of the house. Luckily, as a reader of this blog, you know better than to dive into real estate unprepared! Here are some of the minor issues that are most difficult for buyers to overlook, along with a reality check about their actual importance.

Ugly Cabinets

Buyers often see ugly kitchen cabinets and immediately imagine nightmares of redoing the entire space. Yes, a full kitchen remodel can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but that isn't usually necessary. Unless they are falling apart, most cabinets can be transformed by a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware. Even if refinishing is required, this process only costs a couple thousand dollars, far removed from a 5-figure nightmare scenario.

Hideous Wallpaper

Everyone knows the visceral reaction that can be induced by truly awful wallpaper. Even if the current design makes your head hurt, don't let that ruin an otherwise ideal house. For those do-it-yourselfers out there, removing old wallpaper and hanging a new pattern (or just painting) is often a fairly straightforward task. On the other hand, hiring a professional to install new wallpaper only costs about $500 per room.

Outdated Light Fixtures

Much like cabinets, ugly and/or old light fixtures can cast the entire room in an unfavorable light. Luckily, replacing fixtures is cheap and simple to do on your own, as long as there is no rewiring that needs to be done (this is sometimes the case in older homes).

Sickening Paint Colors

This one is a no-brainer, but it's still worth mentioning: don't disregard a house just because you hate the paint colors, even if the bathroom is bright orange leading into a black hallway. Painting is the simplest and cheapest way to alter the feel of a room, as evidenced by the extreme effect terrible color choices have on an otherwise normal area. A professional-looking paint job is within your reach, but even hiring a real pro will only set you back a few hundred dollars per room.

One last thing to remember: if you don't want to deal with these changes yourself, ask if the seller is willing to do them as part of the sale contract. Whatever you do, don't let these minor issues sink what would be a great home for your future. You can read about some more hard-to-overlook issues at realtor.com.