One of the most difficult things when viewing a potential new home is to imagine yourself in it. It’s hard to see past the current owner’s furniture, past the wallpaper, and past the clutter. Outdated colours, chipped paint, poor decoration, and poor use of space can be a big turn-off. But that needn’t be the case. If you learn to look beyond the dated style choices and the distracting clutter, you may find your dream home.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to see past the vendor’s choices and really fall in love with your potential new home.
Decide on your dealbreakers
Before you start house-hunting, think hard about what you want from your new home and the requirements of your lifestyle. Perhaps you need space for a large collection of books. Or you might enjoy entertaining your friends and need seating for ten people. Or you may be used to regular family visits that require a spare bedroom. Make a list of your ‘must have’ features to focus on. As always location, location, location is the best reason for buying, but your ideal home may not be for sale in the area you’d like to live.
Or is it?
Think carefully about how much DIY you can handle, and if possible earmark a budget that you would be prepared to spend. Unless you are the intrepid type you probably don’t want a home that needs complete renovation, but it’s amazing what you can do with a lick of paint, a wallpaper stripper and a bit of re-organisation. Making cosmetic changes to update the home might make a more cost-effective purchase than opting for a new build, or a house that has been recently renovated.
Viewing the property
Don’t let the outside scare you off. It might not have the kerb-appeal of some properties, but it may well have “good bones”, and may still be worth a look inside. Satisfy yourself that the roof is in good repair and look for cracks in the walls that may be evidence of subsidence. These can be expensive things to correct. Check the condition of the window frames. If the vendor has invested in looking after the frames and glazing, it’s a good indicator that they will have maintained the rest of the property carefully.
Don’t be put off by the state of the garden either, it too can be easily fixed. It may be that a profusion of borders or large shrubbery make it look small. Try to imagine how it would look with these things removed or opened up. Opening up the garden all the way to the fences can make a huge transformation. If the house is in a street of identical houses, have a look at what the neighbours have done to their gardens to see how the house you’re viewing could look with some alterations.
Happy with the outside? Then let’s go in and have a look around.
What not to notice
Other people’s taste will rarely coincide with yours. Ugly furniture and curtains are not important, so don’t let them sway you. They won’t be there when you move in. Use your imagination and try to see how rooms could look with your furniture and your taste in decoration. If you are struggling to visualise how big a room is, with its heavy furniture and cluttered appearance, study the floor plans. How do the dimensions compare with the size of your existing rooms? Smaller than yours? Or bigger?
Some smells don’t matter. It’s hard to feel positive about a property when it smells musty or stale. But unless your home inspection reveals something serious like damp or wet rot, you can banish those smells in a couple of days by opening up the windows and giving the property a good airing. If you intend replacing the carpets, even better, but if not, most animal smells can usually be dealt with by hiring a good carpet cleaner.
Turn a blind eye to colours. People often get really distracted by a bright yellow wall in the sitting room, or naff tiles in the bathroom. But these things aren’t permanent. They can be changed easily with a visit to the DIY store and there are even specialist paints which will cover wall tiles and flooring – at least until you get round to changing them permanently.
Look past the clutter. It’s hard to keep an open mind when a room is filled with boxes, furniture, and ornaments. Remind yourself that when you move in, the house will be empty. If you need to be sure something of yours will fit take a tape measure. Extending the tape to the dimensions of your piece of furniture will help you visualise how much space it will take.
What to notice
Take note of the things money can’t buy. Look for those features to love that you couldn’t add, like an incredible view, or a beautiful original fireplace. It can also be helpful to understand which way the house faces before you visit. Heavy curtains may be blocking the light from a south-facing window giving a false impression of how light the room could be. You can be sure that lighter, brighter, curtains will make the room much lighter and sunnier in the summer – especially if the room faces south.
We hope this article has given you a few helpful hints on how to view a property. And with those in mind, why not head over to our search page and see if you can fall in love with one of our properties. Your ideal home may well be there. Will it be love at first sight?