In the market for a house? You probably have a list of all the things you want—a big backyard, a farmhouse sink, hardwood floors—but ironically, that list might actually cause you to overlook your dream home.
“When people are house shopping, they have a picture of what the house needs to look like, but if everything doesn’t line up with that picture, it can cause them to walk away from a gem of a home,” says Michael Corbett, real estate expert for Trulia and author of “Before You Buy!: The Homebuyer’s Handbook for Today’s Market.”
Of course there are real deal breakers when house hunting—like mold, a cracked foundation or unmanageable traffic on a busy street. “But on the other side, there are some things that house hunters have to challenge themselves to ignore,” says Corbett, “because a house with some questionable décor may actually be a diamond in the rough.”
So step away from your dream-home checklist, consider this list of nine things everyone should ignore … and you may just find the perfect house for you.
1. An “Older” Home
“A lot of first-time home buyers really think newer is always better,” says Corbett. “But that’s not necessarily the case.” Some homes built decades ago have stood the test of time because they were built with solid, quality materials and have a classic style, while some newer homes are affordable simply because they were built cheaply and quickly. Older homes also typically have more charm, character and livable space. “Sure, it’s probably going to need some TLC and you may have some weekend projects,” he says. “But the upside is that it can leave you more room to negotiate on the price.”
2. Weird Paint Colors
It’s understandable that walking into a home where every wall is purple would be a turnoff, but try to look past bad color choices, says Corbett. “Focus on the structure of the room, the placement of the windows, etc.,” he says. “Paint is an incredibly easy and cheap fix in a home. For a couple hundred dollars you can transform a room—and a house.”
3. Your Grandmother’s Wallpaper
“A floral explosion and a 1990s throwback in a room is no big deal,” says Corbett. “although it might hurt your eyes upon first glance.” Wallpaper is easily removed or covered over—and, as mentioned above, a coat of new paint is about the easiest home improvement you can make. Once you change your walls, the room will have a whole new vibe. And, then again, you never know: Wallpaper is also making a comeback.