Purple siding? You can fix ugly

We have all been there. We’ve found a house with an awesome floor plan, well-positioned in a great neighborhood, but … it’s just plain ugly. In fact, you may even wonder why you looked at it in the first place since you can’t get past the exterior. However, the fact of the matter is, unlike many more serious issues, you can fix ugly.

Peel back the dented purple aluminum siding and you are liable to see the same house wrap or roofing felt that is under the house next door. That lava rock stone facade could be stripped back to a brick ledge that could be used to support a more timeless stone or brick facade. Replacing stone will be more pricey per square foot than siding, but both could be very worth your while if the house can be purchased at the right price. In fact, installing fiber cement siding has one of the best paybacks for home improvement projects. In addition, it can be painted at the factory in a controlled environment, thereby extending the time before you will need to re-coat.

Front doors take a lot of abuse and some hold up better than others, but an attractive front door goes a long way to improve a homes curb appeal. Replacing a front door is typically a one-day job and an attractive wood door can be installed for less than $1,000 up to several thousand or more for exotic woods with high-end hardware. Either way, the impact can be significant.

Inside the house, there are a lot of areas that might be tough to overlook, but many of these ugly issues are easily resolved, too. Issues like the shiny gold faucets from the ’80s or the garish Lucite hanging light fixture add to the visual distraction, but are simply corrected. Period specific wallpaper, bold paint colors and popcorn-textured ceilings are fairly easily fixed and should not be significant deterrents to purchase.

Flooring fixes can be as simple as replacing the carpet or refinishing the hardwood floors to busting up a ceramic tile floor in a bath or lifting worn vinyl sheet in a kitchen. Often, the most difficult part of these jobs is removing the old surface and preparing for the new surface. These are jobs that might be done by the mildly ambitious homeowner seeking to keep costs to a minimum. Many newer products, such as crack isolation membranes for tile floors and pre-finished engineered wood systems, can make the re-installation relatively painless and often less expensive.

Many areas of an “ugly” house may be more of a reflection of the seller’s personal decorating taste than inherent design flaws. Try to look past this. Focus on room dimensions and traffic flow. Try to imagine each room as a canvas, with your color pallet applied, furniture arranged and artwork hung. Could this be the right house for you after a makeover? Leverage the probability that fewer people will be chasing the ugly house. The “discount” it may be purchased at could more than offset the renovation and remodeling required to make it the most attractive home in the neighborhood.

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