Diamonds in the rough

Home Buying: Look for a Diamond in the RoughSome years ago, before I got into the real estate business, I found the home of my dreams. Well, sort of.

I was renting in a historic Guelph neighbourhood and noticed a home for sale down the street. I asked my agent to set up an appointment and that evening we walked a few houses down for a viewing.

The home was, in a word, a dump. The house had been let go so badly that it would be hard to pick the worst offense – the dirt, the mess, the odor… it was all completely, over-the-top bad.

We walked through the place and headed out to the back yard. We’d only been in the house for about five minutes, but I turned to my agent and said, “I want this house.” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone look so surprised!

Can you spot a diamond in the rough? If you can, you’re in the minority – and it can be a significant advantage to you as a home buyer. Take my house for example; many people came to visit that home and didn’t make it past the foyer. I saw (and smelled!) the problems, but I also saw the potential. The house had great bones and I knew that with a (VERY) deep clean, new flooring and lots and lots of paint, it could be a beautiful little house. And it is.

As you’re touring homes, be open to the possibility that you might find a diamond in the rough. All too often, we focus on what’s wrong and get stuck there: the wallpaper is ugly, the carpeting is stained, the house smells like smoke, etc. Those are all problems, but they also represent opportunities to you as a buyer, because most people cannot or do not look past those issues. If you can look past the here-and-now, and visualize a not-so-perfect home’s potential, you’re in the minority. And if the house is priced in accordance with the way it shows, such as in the case of a distress sale, you might just snag yourself a soon-to-be-great house at a great price.

Food for thought!

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