Monday, March 16, 2009

The Seach for the Ugly House

Some of my clients think I'm a little crazy when I advocate for buying ugly houses. Now I'm not talking butt-ugly. I'm talking about the type of ugly that a coat of paint or perhaps new carpet will fix. And I advocate for that type of house because that is where the best deals are.

Houses with "Pottery Barn Decor" are fun to look at but you will "ohh and ahh" all the way to the bank if you purchase this type of house. Sparkling clean and tastefully decorated houses command top dollar but keep in mind that the furniture and art work will be gone when you move in.

Everybody wants to buy a beautiful house. It's just not as exciting to tell all your friends, "Well, it has green and orange shag carpeting from the '70's BUT the roof is new and the furnace is only a couple of years old!"

Here are a few tips for ugly house shopping.

1. Do your homework so you can budget for remodeling jobs. Kitchens, for example, and be remodeled for a few thousand dollars or tens of thousands, depending on your standards. Even wall-to-wall carpeting comes in a wide variety of designs and quality and so no real estate agent can honestly give you a ball-park figure for these projects.

2. Have a checklist so that you are certain to check all the mechanicals, such as electric, hotwater heater, roof. It would be down-right depressing to have an ugly house that also leaks every time it rains. This is not to say you won't have the house inspected, but you should check for obvious problems before you put in an offer.
3. Analyze the layout. This is especially important in kitchens. You may be able to improve its looks but it also needs to function well.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you'd don't know how to decorate, hire an interior designer. Generally, they charge a few hundred dollars for an initial consultation which is a bargain if you saved thousands on the purchase.
Want to go ugly house shopping? Give me a call. I don't mind showing you beautiful houses as well.
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