It is easy to look at the highly upgraded, trendy homes on HGTV or in Architectural Digest and dream of buying a home with a similar level of style and finish — but not everyone can afford such a luxurious home purchase. Well-appointed homes are expensive, and in this market, most first-time home buyers need to lower their expectations if they want any hope of acquiring a property to call their own.
Fortunately, ugly homes have their advantages. Though it might not be everyone’s dream to buy a house that looks old and outdated, you might choose an ugly house over a pretty one for the following reasons.
Most sellers are realistic about the state of their property — or else they are made to see the truth by their seller’s agent. When a seller has an ugly home, they will price it lower per square foot, which means a larger, uglier home could cost the same amount or even less than a smaller, well-finished one. Most homebuyers are interested in maximizing their investment, or acquiring as much property as they feasibly can within their budget. If you aren’t afraid of a challenge, a large ugly home could be an outstanding opportunity for you.
Ugly homes will always receive less attention from buyers than attractive homes, and the traction they do get is likely from flippers who are trying to low-ball sellers as much as possible. Therefore, if you want a relatively easy negotiations period, you should aim for an ugly home, as sellers will feel lucky to receive any reasonable offers at all. Sellers of ugly homes might also be more willing to offer concessions, such as paying for certain repairs or covering closing costs. The faster negotiations conclude, the sooner you can own your very own home — and start working to reduce its ugliness.
When you buy a beautiful home, you are paying a premium for all the work the previous owners did to improve its aesthetics. So, it doesn’t make much fiscal sense to rip apart all the finishings and put in others that you prefer. If you are intent on renovating whatever property you purchase, you might as well invest in an ugly home. Not only will you be paying less for the home, allowing your renovation budget to remain as big as possible, but you won’t need to worry about wasting the investment and effort of those who came before. You can toss out those old flush-mount lights and install stylish hugger ceiling fans to your heart’s delight.
Landscaping works wonders in making a house look and feel like a home, and more established landscapes — which often have mature hedges and large trees — tend to be the most appealing. However, it is uncommon to find an established landscape outside a house that was constructed or heavily renovated within the past few years. Rather, it is the relatively untouched older homes which are more likely to have gorgeous greenery. Though you might not be enchanted with the interior of an old, ugly home, if you love the landscape, you might as well invest because it could be decades before you could achieve something similar on your own.
Builders of new-construction homes often strip away unnecessary architectural details to make the buildings faster, easier and less expensive to put together. However, in decades past, true artisans took responsibility for home construction, which meant that many houses were built with gorgeous architectural elements that create a bounty of character. As you are looking through old, ugly houses, you might keep your eye open for interesting architectural details hiding in plain sight, as these are what could make your home look and feel unique.
There are three words that should guide any first-time home buyer: location, location, location. Sure, there are castles for sale in France and Scotland, but if you need to commute to Dallas for your job, those properties don’t make much sense for your starter home. Instead, you should look in the neighborhoods you know and love for ugly homes that are going unnoticed. If you buy the worst house on the best street, you will make a better investment than a mansion far from where you need and want to be.
You deserve to live in the house of your dreams — but it might take some elbow grease to get there. Ugly homes are more valuable than you might first suspect, so during your house hunt, you should spare some time for the uglier options in your price range.