Perhaps your life circumstances recently changed. A fresh career, new little one, or simply time for a change of scenery can all lead you down a new road. And this means that it’s time to look for a house to accommodate your needs and desires. Depending on what these needs are, finding the home that also meets your desires may be challenging. Oftentimes, a bit of tweaking can make all the difference.
When Cookie Cutter Won’t Do
The prototypical American home has three bedrooms, two baths, and can easily accommodate a family of four. This space will include a living room and, if you’re lucky, a bonus room or office. While these are highly sought-after, they aren’t right for everyone. If you need a specific type of home, such as one with an in-law suite, finished basement, or separate office, sometimes it’s necessary to make concessions. One of these is to buy a home that doesn’t check all the boxes, but has the potential to with a bit of tweaking.
When space is an issue, there are ways to increase the usable area on the property. Adding an external garage or outbuilding, for example, will give you more elbow room to store large items,
such as a project vehicle, lawn equipment, garden tools, or pieces you’ve recently inherited from a family member. One suggestion is to install a steel building, since it’s fairly easy to erect, is long-lasting, and more cost-effective than other types of home additions
If your future home has plenty of space but is the wrong layout, there are ways to fix that as well. You may consider, for example, converting a basement into a separate living space for an aging parent or disabled sibling. This offers many benefits, since it’s an independent space with easy accessibility. It’s usually a relatively inexpensive transition as well, since plumbing, electricity, and climate control are already established.
When you don’t have an unlimited budget, but need a specific type of home, you may have to get your hands dirty by investing in a fixer-upper. You can often get a great deal on a home that needs work, but keep in mind that the average fixer-upper renovation costs around $76,000, according to Apartment Therapy. The good news is that you don’t have to complete repairs and upgrades all at once. As long as the home has solid “bones,” you can learn to live with pink subway tile and wood paneling.
The most significant costs you might come up against relate to the foundation or major systems. A basement home is a great example. Olshan notes that a basement with a musty odor or an infestation of earwigs might indicate potential foundation failure. Another indicator of a problem at the lower level is wood rot at the base of the home’s support beams. These issues can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Similarly, replacing the HVAC, electrical system, or updating the plumbing can be particularly costly.
Sometimes houses are considered fixer-uppers because they need cosmetic updates, like paint, carpeting, or tiling. Fortunately, cosmetic issues are often subjective and simple changes, like changing the color of the room, can turn an unattractive room into a pleasing one. Even small tweaks to the home’s appearance can add up over time.
Avoid Major Issues
If you are familiar with home renovation and repairs, you will likely know what to look for when viewing homes. If you are not, make sure to find a home inspector who will give you a thorough, accurate, and detailed report. The American Society Of Home Inspectors explains very clearly the reasons a home inspection is important. The input from a professional can help protect your single largest investment, and eliminate surprises and unexpected challenges.
There is no single style of home that will appeal to everyone. And when you need something that isn’t readily available, you will either have to wait or be willing to make changes. A small garage, a basement renovation, or ongoing cosmetic upgrades can help you turn an almost-perfect house into your home.