From price and location to the physical structure itself, the list of things to keep in mind when shopping for a
house can seem endless. But some problems you encounter don’t need to affect your final decision. Although easy
is a relative term, accomplishing the 10 fixes that follow is generally pretty straightforward. We also point out some
big-ticket fixes to watch out for. Happy house hunting!
1. Easy fix: Repaint or reface existing cabinetry. If the interior structure of the cabinetry is still sound, refinishing,
repainting or refacing (replacing the cabinet fronts) can be a more cost-effective way to refresh a dated kitchen
than completely replacing the cabinetry. If the cabinet doors are in poor condition or you want to change the style,
2. Easy fix: New appliances. Swapping out old appliances for shiny new models is one of the biggest-impact ways to
make over your kitchen without getting bogged down in a full remodel. And because the cost of appliances and
installation is pretty straightforward, it’s easier to plan and budget for this upgrade than projects that might expand
beyond your original scope.
Not-so-easy fix: New kitchen layout. Replacing what’s already in your kitchen is one thing, but when you start to
move the plumbing and electrical around, costs can rise quickly. If possible, go for a house with a kitchen that has a
layout you’re happy with — you can always tweak the details.
3. Easy fix: Fresh carpeting. Stained, worn-out carpeting is a real bummer, and it can be hard to see past it when
viewing a potential home. But ripping out old carpeting and putting in something new — especially something as
fresh and fun as the colorful carpet tiles shown here — can make a huge difference in how a space looks and feels.
4. Easy fix: New paint color. It’s amazing the effect color can have on us — remind yourself of this fact the next
time you tour an open house with some (ahem) unusual color choices. You can easily (and cheaply) replace any wall
color with a beautiful hue.
5. Easy fix: Replace light fixtures. Swapping out dated light fixtures with new ones you love is a quick and easy fix
an electrician or DIY-savvy homeowner can accomplish in relatively little time. From modern pendants to
chandeliers, there’s a light for every style and taste.
Not-so-easy fix: Extensive electrical work. Exchanging one light fixture for another in the same spot is simple;
updating old or unsafe systems is another matter entirely. Electrical work should definitely be left to the pros, and
electrical repairs in an older home can cost a pretty penny, so be sure to get a thorough inspection and review it in
6. Easy fix: Repurpose a room. Just because a room is shown as a messy kids’ room or workout space doesn’t
mean that’s what will make the most sense for you. As you tour potential new homes, think creatively about the
spaces you see and try to imagine your own furniture in them. One person’s overstuffed home office could be your
perfect sun room.
Not-so-easy fix: Adding on. Remodeling costs get a whole lot bigger whenever you talk about changing the
footprint of a home, so try not to be seduced by talk of how “easy” it would be to tack a room on to the back of the
house. Although there are always exceptions, your best bet is usually to find a house with a footprint you can work
7. Easy fix: Remove or cover up popcorn ceilings. Not much dates a house like the lumpy, bumpy texture of a
popcorn ceiling. Thankfully, fixing it isn’t too complicated, and you’ll soon have a nice, smooth ceiling. The most
common method is simply scraping it off, but if there’s any chance that lead and-or asbestos might be present in
the paint or the popcorn material itself, you’ll need to cover it up with drywall instead.
8. Easy fix: Add architectural interest. If you love the look of older homes with lots of original architectural details
but haven’t been able to find the right one at the right price, it’s still possible to get some of the detail you crave,
even in a newer build. Crown molding, baseboards, picture rails and even built-in features like bookcases and
bench seating can be added by a carpenter to give a boxy new build added character. It’s an extra cost, but it’s not
especially difficult, and it can make a big difference in how you experience a home.
9. Easy fix: Refinish floors. If you’re lucky enough to spot a house with real wood floors, don’t let a dull finish turn
you off. While engineered hardwood can usually be refinished only a few times during its life (the number depends
on how thick the veneer is) solid hardwoods can take a lot more, so you can have gorgeous, glossy floors (or
artfully beat-up floors if you desire) for years to come.
10. Easy fix: Add landscaping. Yard looking a little bare? Adding landscaping, whether a simple DIY job or a
landscaping pro’s design and installation, is something that can make a huge impact on curb appeal and, more
important, how you feel when you come home each day.
Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters