When to Compromise on Your Home—and When Not To

Here’s a simple reality of home buying: No property is completely perfect. Even if you find something that’s pretty close to your dreams, there will probably be some little thing you’ll just have to overlook, or else something you’ll want to change—the paint color in one room, a piece of carpet that’s seen better days, cabinet hardware that’s not quite to your liking.

When touring homes, one of the most important principles is knowing when to compromise: If you see a space that’s just right for you, save for a few easily addressed cosmetic issues, it’s probably best not to let those nitpicks sink the sale.

But then again, it’s just as important for homebuyers to know when not to compromise—when to stand firm for the features and amenities they really want.

In today’s blog post, we’re going to provide some guidance for navigating this key juncture—the times you’ll want to settle, and the times when you really shouldn’t.

As always, we’ll also point you to your free SOLD.com seller’s report. One day you may be listing rather than buying, and this report will tell you how to sell your own home, and ensure it gets sold for top dollar. We’re always here to help you sell your home, so claim your report today.

Now, on to buying!

When to Compromise and When Not To: Tips for Homebuyers

Start with a List

Before you even start looking at homes, it may be wise to make a list of your priorities—the things you really want in a house; the things that are absolutely non-negotiable; and the things that could be nice, but you can potentially live without.

Having a list of priorities, perhaps divided into Negotiable and Non-Negotiable, can be a valuable guide to you as you start looking at specific homes.

Cosmetic vs. Non-Cosmetic

As you think about when to compromise and when not to, your decisions will often fall along the lines of what’s ultimately cosmetic and what’s a little more permanent.

Basically, if it’s something that’s quick, easy, and inexpensive to fix—paint colors, hardware, even carpeting—then it’s probably something where you should be open to a compromise. But if it’s something that’s impossible or extremely difficult to change, like the actual floor plan, then it’s probably an area where you want to stick to your guns.

When to Look the Other Way

Specifically, here are some common cosmetic issues where it’s often okay to compromise.

  1. Wallpaper. Yes, wallpaper can look woefully outdated. And yes, most wallpaper looks dingy over time. But the thing about wallpaper is, it’s pretty easy to take down. You don’t need any special skills, and it doesn’t really cost anything. It’s probably not something you want to lose a house over.
  2. Ugly cabinet hardware. Again, the knobs or handles on the cabinetry can be replaced very easily, and it usually doesn’t cost much.
  3. Bad paint jobs. You may not be wild about the neon pink paint job in the family room— but it’ll just take a few hours to repaint it in a hue of your choosing. And even if you end up hiring someone to paint for you, it’s still a fairly easy fix that won’t break the bank.
  4. Grungy carpet. Nasty carpet can be a bummer, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Carpet cleaning and carpet replacement are both viable options.
  5. Outdated light fixtures. Whether you want to tackle it as a DIY project or enlist a local handyman, light fixtures usually pop out pretty easily, and you can pick a replacement that suits your tastes.

We’re Here to Help You Buy & to Help You Sell Your Home

Sometimes it behooves homebuyers to know what they want and to accept nothing less—but when the issues are all aesthetic ones, there’s virtue in knowing when to compromise.

We hope this has been a helpful resource for buyers. And for sellers, we invite you again to claim your free report from SOLD.com. In it, you’ll get individualized advice on how to get your place sold, as easily as possible and for top dollar. Whether you plan to sell your own home or work with a Realtor, get your report today!