What to ignore during your search for the perfect condo

What to ignore during your search for the perfect condo

Condos can be the ideal purchase for homebuyers who are on tight budgets. They’re typically lower priced than single-family homes, insurance is less expensive and ongoing home maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.

There are some aspects of condo-buying that should never be ignored, however. These include:

  • The periodic association fee and how much it will add to your monthly house payment.
  • The homeowner association packet of documents for the homebuyer (it includes vital information).
  • Communities with a large number of homes for sale. Do the research required to find out why so many residents are leaving.

When touring condos for sale, however, some things are better left ignored.

Try to look beyond the cosmetics

Cosmetic issues are easily remedied and typically inexpensive to fix. Ignore the following while looking at condos for sale:

Wall color

Paint colors are personal and what turns on one person may be repulsive to another. Because condos are typically smaller than single-family homes, distasteful wall colors can overtake entire rooms.

Not only that, but the wrong color can make a room appear smaller than it is. Don’t take the paint’s word for it – measure rooms to get the true size.

Then, remember that walls can be transformed relatively inexpensively.

The average square footage of a U.S. condo is 1,482 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The nationwide average cost to paint a home this size, without hiring a professional, is between $200 and $300 for basic paint and $400 to $600 for high-quality paint.

Hire a pro to do it for you for about $1,100 to $2,000, according to costhelper.com.

Ignore the walls – it’s an easy, inexpensive fix.

Dark and gloomy is also an easy fix

Even with all our years of viewing homes, it remains a mystery to us how some people can live in dark, gloomy homes. Even a lack of natural light shouldn’t prohibit someone from introducing artificial light sources to the home, especially when it’s a fact that light helps lift our moods.

Don’t let the gloom stop you from putting in an offer on a condo that offers most everything else you are seeking in a home. Lighting is inexpensive and, the right fixtures can transform your home.

Check out the room-by-room lighting guide at Huffington Post and ways to enhance your decorating scheme with lighting at bhg.com.

The personal stuff will be gone

We get it. All that dated furniture, the collections of books, knick-knacks or other items, family photos and other personal items and clutter are distracting.

And, although it may be challenging, it’s important to remember that it will all be gone when you move in. Look beyond the clutter to the basic flow of each room — the “bones” of the home.

The flip side is just as dangerous

While ugly interiors can be distracting, so can gorgeous ones. Stagers are skilled at making homes appear move-in ready and at creating interiors that appeal to a broad range of homebuyers.

Don’t buy into the fantasy

Those Imperial silk draperies will most likely go home with the stager when the home is sold. Ditto for all the accessories that go into the psychological appeal of the room, the throw pillows, fresh flowers and plants and mirrors and artwork.

Staged rooms also may not be as large as you think they are. Some stagers use smaller-scale furniture to trick the eye into making a room appear bigger. Paint colors are likewise chosen to make homes seem roomier.

If in doubt as to whether or not your furniture will fit in the home, measure each room.

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) cautions homebuyers that stagers often use “furniture and wall hangings to cover up or direct a buyer’s attention away from floor damage or wall damage.”

They also remind homebuyers that staged homes are often perceived as being well-maintained homes. Often, this perception is far from reality.

“Many times, staged homes take advantage of the staging to cover up deferred maintenance issues and improper construction and repair issues,” they say in the 2007 report, “How to Not Get Tricked by Staging, and Potentially Save $5,645 when you Buy your Home.

Ignore the home’s staging and perform your due diligence by looking behind wall hangings and under rugs and furniture.

Whether the condos you tour are diamonds in the rough or staged to perfection, it pays to look beyond the cosmetics to whether the space works for your needs and lifestyle.

3 amazing kitchen designs

In 2015, more than 10 million American households spent nearly $50 billion renovating their kitchens, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Organization.

Since the kitchen is the most-used room in the home, and the most popular among homebuyers, it’s money well-invested

If you plan on joining the renovators it’s time to learn about various kitchen design concepts so that you’re better able to choose the one that fits your lifestyle. You can never over-plan your new kitchen, right?

From color schemes to layouts, windows to lighting, here are some brilliant kitchen concepts from top designers.

The contemporary kitchen

If you fancy yourself on the cutting edge of technology and love new gadgets you may just be the type that will enjoy a contemporary kitchen.

Think “sleek” when choosing appliances and anything you can have built-in, by all means do so, even the coffee maker.

Speaking of appliances, a “smart” refrigerator is right up your alley

Forget about granite and even quartz for the countertops and head straight for concrete.

Look for patterned backsplashes (such as glass tile) and don’t forget under — and inside — cabinet lighting.

HGTV suggests the best places to shop for contemporary kitchen items include West Elm, Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn. They also offer a style guide for contemporary kitchens on their website.

Go Mediterranean

The Mediterranean kitchen can be summed up in two words: Warm and cozy. Oh, go ahead and throw in “romantic” as well because the iconic rich colors of this style positively drip with amour.

Houzz’s Lisa Frederick suggests using “a blend of spicy red, bright yellow, terra cotta and ocean blue” as your color scheme. Then, add dark cabinets and upholstery fabrics that connotes the sun and sea.

Top it all off with ceramics anywhere you can put them, from accessories to backsplashes.

For ideas on how to create a Mediterranean kitchen in your home, visit Decoist and Houzz. The latter also offers an accessory buying guide for your Med kitchen.

The cottage kitchen

Although cottage-style design may seem more suited to a vintage home, such as a bungalow, if done right it can be quite attractive even in a newly constructed home.

As you approach the design, think homey, cozy, utilitarian and down-to-earth.

Color schemes are typically heavy on the white, but “pretty painted base cabinets in pastel blue make a room shine bright,” according to Kathy Barnes at Better Homes & Gardens.

Speaking of cabinets, you can also forget the traditional and opt for attractive, vintage-looking shelves instead. Then, throw in a farmhouse sink, hardwood floors and pendant lights.

See examples of cottage kitchens at Southern LivingThis Old House and Better Homes and Gardens.