How to determine if a fixer upper is worth the work
“I love it, but it needs work!”
Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself saying that about a potential property. Even the best homes may require a few tweaks to get them move-in ready. For first-time homebuyers, fixer-uppers offer amazing value. Identify the great bones hiding behind dated wallpaper or lighting, and you can save money, while custom decorating your property to your liking. Here are 5 property flaws that are fairly easy to fix.
Flaw #1: Unstylish wallpaper or a unattractive paint colour
Fix: One of the cheapest and easiest ways to refresh a space is to paint it a clean, neutral colour. That’s why it’s so surprising when a home seller skips this step. Unflattering walls, from unappealing paint shades to outdated wallpaper, can elicit a visceral response in certain viewers: “Not. This. Home.” That gives savvy house-hunters an advantage: more homes to choose from, and possibly a bargaining chip when it comes to sales price.
Lacklustre walls are easy to fix. Repainting a room takes just hours, and even if you have to strip old wallpaper beforehand, it’s a straightforward weekend project.
Flaw #2: Dark, gloomy rooms
Fix: Dingy rooms are often the result of bad lighting. Upping the wattage of light bulbs can make a big difference, but installing new light fixtures is the surest way to give a darker room a bright new outlook.
Well-lit rooms combine ambient lighting with task lighting. A solid lighting strategy pairs overhead illumination such as modern recessed lighting or a traditional chandelier with additional light sources like table lamps, floor lamps or desk lamps.
Lighting is an easy fix so don’t let this flaw deter you from making an offer on a fixer-upper. Basic lighting installation can be tackled by DIYers, while a pro can make short work of installing recessed lighting.
Flaw #3: Damaged hardwood or a musty carpet
Fix: Old carpets put off potential buyers, but don’t let that stained floor covering deter you. Ripping out wall-to-wall broadloom takes elbow grease, but isn’t difficult.
If you’re lucky, you may find well-preserved hardwood underneath. If not, don’t stress: stained or scratched-up hardwood can be refinished by sanding, re-staining, and varnishing. Ambitious DIYers can tackle this, otherwise, you can hire a pro to do it for less than it would cost to have new hardwood installed.
If the carpet was hiding linoleum, consider today’s next-generation engineered hardwood or budget-friendly laminate: it looks like hardwood, and features basic, glue-less, click-in installation.
Flaw #4: Out-of-date kitchen cabinetry
Fix: Nice kitchen, not-so-nice cabinetry? Not a problem: Wood cabinets are easy to update! Just give them a cheap-and-cheerful facelift via a couple coats of hardwearing enamel paint and new knobs or pulls.
Or, for a more radical makeover, have your cabinetry refaced by a kitchen specialist. New doors, drawer fronts and hardware provide a kitchen makeover, minus the hassle and waste of ripping out serviceable cabinetry.
Flaw #5: Zero curb appeal exterior paint palette
Fix: Curb appeal is huge. And when a house is seriously lacking, you may think twice about the investment. But take a few minutes to analyze a house’s exterior before you cut it from your list. Would a new exterior paint palette for the walls, porch, window shutters and front door transform the house from drab to delightful?
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