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When house hunting, sometimes it’s hard to see dream home potential beneath someone else’s sense of home decor style. Here are 5 ways to get avoid that problem.

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Recently I’ve visited a few open houses with a friend who is in search of a new home. Even though home staging services are widely available these days, it’s pretty clear that some people do not take advantage of them!

But even those houses impeccably decorated are not to everyone’s taste. It can be hard to look beyond what you see, but you really should because YOUR gem could be hidden underneath theirs.

1. Look for the light

If you’re a person who likes light and you walk through a darkened house, it’s tempting to turn around and say ‘Next!’ But take a minute to figure out why it is dark.

Heavy curtains are an easy tip off, or if the furniture and walls are dark that can draw a room down. Your own lighter furniture and a coat of paint can lighten things right up. Maybe heavy trees or hedges are outside blocking the natural light – find out if those can be trimmed to let the light shine in.

2. Bring it up to date

Seeing a home that hasn’t been renovated since the 1970’s can be a bit off-putting but remember that the furniture will move out with the people and the carpet and wallpaper are things relatively easy, and not too expensive, to replace. Switching up the fixtures is a quick change that will make a huge difference to the look as well.

3. Clear the clutter

Some people have a lot of furniture crammed into one room, or the pieces are awkwardly placed so it makes the room look smaller than it really is. No matter what the situation, measuring the space is a MUST! Often you will find the room is much bigger than it may appear.

4. Find more space

You may have been excited that the house had four bedrooms – until you see that two of them are barely big enough to fit a single bed in. If the bedrooms are next to each other consider making it into one larger room. I’ve seen houses that have had separate small living room, dining room and kitchen areas all combined into one large wonderful space by knocking down some walls.

Make sure to get blueprints and an expert opinion first as some walls cannot be moved or knocked down but keep an open mind – even creating a ‘pass-through’ window from the kitchen to the dining room can open up a space nicely.

5. Check sightlines for privacy

I was recently in a house and looked out the window, right into the neighbor’s kitchen window which was roughly five feet away! If this happens in a fairly unused room or even an entryway it may not be so bad, however if it is a much used living area or a bedroom this is something you probably want to fix.

Curtains or blinds are the obvious solution but that would mean having a perpetually closed off room. If the problem is on the main floor perhaps a fence or tree planted strategically will solve your problem. Another option is to install frosted glass so you still get most of the light coming into the room but none of the inquisitive neighbor stares.

Don’t miss out

If a home truly doesn’t feel right, has foundation or mold issues, or you just know will become a money pit, then walk away. But don’t miss out on your dream home because of a few things that could potentially be fixed.

Have you encountered any of these problems? What was your fix?

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Erika Palmer

Erika Palmer is a Mom and freelance writer located in Beautiful British Columbia. She is currently working hard to create a home for her new family and is stumbling hilariously down the road to becoming a domestic goddess. In addition to her love of family, and reading and writing, she enjoys exploring new interests with friends, shopping for just about anything, and cuddling up with a great cup of tea and some sort of chocolate treat.