Many buyers make home buying decisions based primarily upon emotional reactions to the homes we show them. A freshly-painted house with clean windows and waxed floors will sell for top dollar, while a nearby home which needs a lot of cosmetic attention may languish on the market, even with a much lower asking price.
If you are buying, you may find yourself in the position of comparing two such houses, put your imagination to work. If the only difference is paint, cleaning, and carpeting (or getting unsightly furniture moved out), remember that these are fairly low-ticket items that you would probably choose to do even if the house is in good shape. If you focus your attention on the location and the condition of the structure and the major systems, you may be able to get a “not-very-rough” diamond at a great price. If cosmetic problems make you nervous about the home, a home inspection can help answer most of your questions.
If you are selling, you need to put yourself in the buyer’s place. The everyday things at your home that you have become blind to, may make potential buyers walk away and keep looking. Take a good look around your home and think like you are considering buying it. Make a list and take action on it. Then once you put it on the market, you are putting your best foot forward. You only have one chance to make a good first impression.