Ideas for sprucing up a foreclosed home

To jump into a foreclosed property, you must be prepared to work

I am listing a foreclosure today, at first it was a sad affair as I wondered about the family who used to live there and wonder what had happened to them.

There were obvious signs of children in the home and the state of repair of the property spoke volumes about how this family felt near the end of their time in the house.

It is my first such property and I am having to work through mixed emotions as I work on how to market this sad place.

This calls for a shift in attitude and a look back onto some of the crazy homes I bought in my younger days. I remember my dad and I standing outside a century-old two-storey that had been boarded up for more than a decade, shaking his head and saying, ‘Not this house’.

Nothing would dissuade me as I had fallen in love and was willing to take on this aged beauty and make her my own.

This property I am listing may not have as much age or character but is on a wooded ½ acre with privacy and that country feel.

To jump into a foreclosed property, you must be prepared to work and put sweat equity into the property right from the start.

While they are a good value and you can often find a property for far less than appraised value, you are also usually buying something that is not warrantied, and you must take your chances on the condition and the possibility of things not working properly.

You do have the option of a home inspection, but it cannot be part of the condition of the sale even though the information may be valuable to you in the future.

Once you have considered the risks and benefits involved and have decided to purchase, it is a good idea to give an expert a call who can help you decide what the rough outline of renovation costs will be.

As I walked around this house, I made mental notes of what I would do to improve the interior (as is my lifelong habit) and I found that the cabinets were sound and that the drywall was in need of a few minor repairs and a great deal of paint!

New carpets and flooring were a must but with some paint and upgraded tile in the bath, the tub, toilet and sink were OK to leave.

Appliances would be at the owners’ choice as they were working and would get you by for now. A few window repairs and this house would feel loved again!

So, in my trip through this home, I estimated that for $40,000 you could put all the necessary elements in to make it a desirable property to live in or possibly re-sell for a profit.

It is interesting that once I got over my negative feelings on the place I was able to see it through a different set of eyes and started putting numbers and decorative elements in place.

I hope the people who buy it will be interested in my design help as I already have some fabulous ideas for this little acreage and feel that it will make a wonderful home for the right family.

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Realtor/Ask a Designer’.

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