7 Things You Can Ignore When Looking at a Home (And 3 You Shouldn’t)

A gray abandoned room

Everyone has questions when buying a house. Real estate properties are massive investments, and they should never be taken lightly. When looking for home buying advice, the web is filled with information. Home buying guides are eager to discuss the many attractive qualities all home buyers should be looking for in a listing… but what about the offputting stuff? 

Homesellers don’t always take the time to invest in their listing, marketing, and pre-sale preparations. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean the home isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Instead of passing up listings that aren’t picture-perfect, homebuyers can benefit from a useful strategy: knowing what bad qualities to ignore, and which to run from. 

When Off-Putting Features Actually Benefit Buyers

The reality is, not all homes are perfectly poised for listing. It’s an industry norm to create gorgeous, eye-catching digital listings – but a quick visit to any listing portal will show that it’s not a ubiquitous practice. Some listings clearly outshine others, but that doesn’t mean the better-advertised property is the best fit for you. 

These concerns extend beyond the digital listing and into the property itself. While a lot of homes are primed and polished when they’re put on the market, some are not. This lack of preparation can result in quite a few offputting qualities that will turn off buyers. 

In many cases, the poorly prepared property may actually be your dream home. Because of this, homebuyers need to be able to identify the diamonds in the rough. 

The ability to see beyond the offputting characteristics can be a major advantage to the buyer. So many people will overlook properties with qualities that aren’t ideal, but not all of them are true deal breakers. As a result, a perfectly good property ends up sitting on the market for a long time. Homes like these are undervalued on the market which often leads to reduced price points or sellers who are more open to negotiating. 

Buyers who are open to ignore the imperfections are able to tap into a financially savvy deal with less competition - shaping a strong real estate strategy. 

7 Things You Can Ignore 

While you can’t ignore everything, there are a few things that you can, and should, ignore about a listed property. Here are 7 things buyers shouldn’t let turn them away from a prospective property. 

1. An Unstaged Home

Staging does make a difference, but it’s not essential to the pre-sale process. If a home is listed as-is, with the seller’s own interiors or vacant, try to look past it. Most buyers will reject an unstaged home since it’s not the market norm, but their preference for picturesque spaces will be costing them in the end. 

Staging a home is expensive. Each room costs hundreds of dollars. While this is considered an up-front cost, don’t think that sellers aren’t making an active investment. Studies from NAR show that staged homes sell for more money. This means buyers are paying more for staging, even though it’s not a necessity. 

Skip out on staging and try to see the space for what it is. 

2. Clutter Around the Home

If you encounter a seller who didn’t clean up before listing their home, it may be worth looking beyond the clutter. Remember, the mess won’t be there at closing time. Eventually, the house will be vacant, cleaned, and prepped. If you love the location and property, it’s smart to dig deeper and try to see past the mess. 

3. Bad Quality Listing Photos

Sometimes, the most beautiful properties aren’t captured on camera. Shoppers need to remember that it’s not all about the listing – it’s about the home itself. If you see promise in a poorly photographed home, it’s still worth checking it out in person. Don’t let a preference for HD-quality photos keep you from a good listing. 

4. Outdated Walls  

Is the home covered in dated wallpapers or an unfavorable paint? If so, those surface-level aesthetics can always be changed. Even though walls do make a big difference in setting the tone of the house, they’re not permanent. 

Homes for sale won’t always fit your exact tastes – but that’s okay. You’ll get the chance to personalize once you seal the deal. 

5. Weird Floors 

Just like wall aesthetics, floors can take many shapes – but not all of them are appealing. However, these interior elements can always be changed to fit your own personal design tastes. Dirty carpets, cement floors, or scratched wood floors can all be replaced once you’re the owner. Since they’re not permanent, it’s worth looking past. 

6. The Way Rooms are Being Used 

The purpose of a room isn’t always set in stone. Just because the seller has it set up in one way doesn’t mean that is the only option. Buyers can benefit from being creative while they’re shopping. 

For example, buyers looking for an in-home office can convert an extra bedroom into their workspace. Or, buyers on the market for an extra bedroom should look past the fact that the previous owner was using one of the rooms as a home gym. 

Staying open will help you see what others can’t.

7. Sellers with Big Personality 

It’s not always easy for homeowners to let go - even when they’ve already decided to sell. All too often, sellers with a big presence can ward away prospective buyers. If you’re confronted with a hands-on seller, you might want to stick it out. While it may cause slight turbulence in the deal, the seller won’t matter once the deal has closed. 

Once the house is legally yours, it’s yours. 

3 Things You Should Not Ignore 

Not all elements of a listing can be ignored. In fact, there are many things that prospective buyers should never turn a blind eye to. 

The basic rule for deciding on non-negotiable real estate features is the capacity for change. Can you fix the issue, or is it here to stay? If you can change it, you can ignore it. But, if it’s a fundamental aspect of the listing, you can’t avoid it. 

These are 3 things that aspiring homebuyers cannot afford to ignore when they’re shopping for homes for sale. 

1. Where It’s Located

You can’t separate a home from its location. 

Even if it’s the perfect listing, buyers shouldn’t negotiate too much when it comes to location. Real estate and location go hand in hand, so buyers need to be invested in the surrounding community. If the neighborhood doesn’t offer the elements and amenities you’re looking for, it may be best for you to take your search somewhere that does. 

2. The Basic Floor Plan 

Renovations can only do so much. If the floorplan is awkward, don’t fool yourself by mapping out a multimillion-dollar renovation plan to convince yourself it’s worth it. If the floorplan doesn’t fit, move on. That’s the spine of the home, so making big changes won’t be easy or cheap. 

3. Lot Placement Considerations

Lot placement is something that buyers should never ignore. The way a home is arranged with the land around it is foundational to the property. If a house is too close to a busy road, or the neighbor’s plot is overlapping your lawn, there’s not too much homeowners can do about it. 

How the home’s lot is organized should be a primary make-it-or-break-it point of a sale. 

Apply These Tips When Browsing Homes for Sale

Knowing what you can and can’t ignore will set your property purchase up for lasting success – helping you find a home that’s perfect for you. Use these home buying tips to navigate your real estate market search and streamline your decision-making process. 

When you’re ready to get started, turn to HomeFinder. Check out our extensive listing portal filled with available homes for sale all around the country.