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Why You May Want To Buy An Ugly Home

Shannon Jones

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes...

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes...

Feb 9 4 minutes read

When most of the homes you see on TV and social media have beautiful kitchens, luxurious living rooms, and plush master bedroom suites, most would-be home buyers start their housing search with a picture-perfect dream home in mind. However, an ugly home may be just the thing for you.

 We know what you're thinking– I don't want to be the person that owns "that" house on the block. But "ugly" is in the eye of the beholder, and one person's dump or unfashionably out-of-date stinker might be a great opportunity to win big financially on your home purchase.

Most "Flaws" Aren't Permanent

Yes, those dusty, tattered drapes, the dated carpet, and the beat up aluminum window frames do need to go. The wallpaper or avocado colored paint and earth tones the former owner loved in the 1970's have definitely worn out their welcome.

But if you can look past out-of-date features and envision what a home could  look like, then you may be rewarded.  A new coat of paint, updated flooring, new counter tops, and a little TLC may provide the starting point for your future dream home. Yes, it will take work and money. But if you're buying an ugly home on the cheap, you can use some of the savings for renovations.

Location is Forever

If you're willing to take on the task of beautifying an ugly home, make sure it's in an appealing location. Investment wise, your leap of faith to buy an ugly duckling can pay you back in dividends if it's located in a highly desirable neighborhood or district. 

Look at the area's highlights. Are the schools good? Can you walk to nearby shops, restaurants, and entertainment with ease? What do the neighbors' homes look like? Look at the location as a package deal. The things you might not love about an ugly house can be redesigned over time, but the location isn't going anywhere. An ugly home in a lovely area might be a great buy.

You'll Thin Out The Competition

It takes a special kind of buyer to purchase strategically and embrace the concept of an ugly home. In the kind of highly competitive seller's market we're experiencing currently, any edge you can find is a plus when trying to get your offer accepted. 

Upgraded homes that are beautifully staged frequently have multiple offers and bidding wars in our current market and true fixers like the one above draw hordes of investors offering all cash. Yet if you can find a home that's aesthetically unappealing but well located and structurally sound, you might find yourself with less competition.  

Don't Dig Your Own Money Pit

Before you embark on a search, make sure you know what you're willing to take on. There's ugly and then there's downright scary. Ugly needs a little imagination, some well thought out renovations, and a reasonable amount of investment in order to raise the bar and kick up curb appeal. Scary might mean the foundation has split, there's a slab leak, and the water has seeped into the walls from the floor, creating black mold behind all the drywall. 

Aesthetic shortfalls may be easy to address.  Structural issues should be reviewed very carefully, with detailed estimates from a contractor in place before you move forward with the purchase. 

Get Professional Help To Find Your Right Level Of Ugly

How ugly a home is, and why it got that way will vary with each property. An experienced Realtor that specializes in your target neighborhood will have the resources to help you look beyond the cracked stucco and see what each home really has to offer. They may be able to point out homes that have been on the market for some time, that have been passed over by other buyers. They can also help you create a strategy to make a reasonable offer that leaves financial wiggle room for your future renovations. 

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