“A mark, fault or other imperfection that mars a substance or object.” That, my friends, is the definition of a flaw. If you think you can find a house that doesn’t fit this description, you’re probably dreaming.
Every home built or lived in has flaws; it’s up to the buyer and seller to decide
if the flaw is serious enough to repair or serious enough to not buy the home. Here are some things to think about on both sides of the transaction.
Buyers need to be aware of many things when first viewing a home. If you have young children, or are just sensitive to noise, be aware of traffic or boat noise at various times of the day. Sometimes homes on main roads are priced better but may not work for your family.
Naturally, obvious structural issues like sloping floors or cracks in the walls should raise a red flag.
Water is a problem if leaks get out of control in a home. Question water stains, mold, peeling paint or blisters on the paint and an overall musty odor. Look under sinks for water dripping and run faucets to see if they leak.
Check to see if the floors are maintained. Scratches on hardwood, cracks on tile and worn carpeting could be an indication of an overall maintenance issue in the home.
Look carefully at the appliances and see if they’re rusty or have dents and look worn out. It’s perfectly legitimate to ask if the appliances are in working order and ask their age. Any hanging wires or broken fixtures could indicate a worse electrical problem and should be questioned.
Finally, landscaping and the entire exterior of the home will give you an im- mediate negative or positive impression the minute you step out of the car. First impressions do count.
If you’re selling, sometimes rather than take on a major renovation of a kitchen
or bathroom it’s just as productive to use a little elbow grease. Even though there is still a shortage of inventory in most markets, buyers are frequently turned off by little things. Any type of odor, whether it’s musty, pet, gym shorts or baby, needs to be corrected. When you’re putting your house up for sale, the best favor you can do it is investing in a deep cleaning. The second-best thing you can do is enhance your curb appeal. Remove the bikes, toys and half-dead plants. Paint peeling on outdoor trim and dirty windows are a no-no.
If your home needs more than a good clean-up, fresh paint may not be as dramatic as a new bathroom, but it will do that first impression a lot of good. Refinishing hardwood floors or putting down an inexpensive piece of carpeting in the kids’ rooms will more than pay for itself. Other small fixes that buyers love are new doors and custom closets, many of which you can do yourself. Think about what appeals to you when you look at Realtor pictures of homes for sale. It could be as simple as new throw pillows and bed quilts. I once bought a $300 new sofa for my family room after my dog made the old one his home. It worked perfectly. The buyers even wanted to buy it from us.
Homes aren’t the only things that have flaws. Most of us can look in the mirror and see a long list of things that need fixing. Just remember, there are no perfect homes and no perfect people. A good lesson to keep in mind.