5 Stupid Things People Always Complain About When Buying A House

Let’s start out with a confession.

I’ve turned into a bit of an HGTV junkie.

If there isn’t anything else on and I want a TV fix, I end up watching one of a million real estate shows that seem to be on TV today.

Based on my HGTV watching experience, I have a good idea of many of the stupid complaints people have when home shopping.

I wanted to share how ridiculous some of these are so you won’t make the same mistakes others did.

In total, there are five things people should overlook when looking to buy a home because they’re easily fixed in most cases.

Getting the perfect home will likely cost you more than it costs to fix these five things yourself.

Paint Colors Are Easy To Change

I can’t stand it when someone walks into a house and complains about paint colors. I admit, the seller would have been smart to paint their home a neutral color for an easier sale.

However, almost nothing is easier to change in a house than a paint color.

Even the most inexperienced do it yourselfers can paint a room or an entire home! To top it off, painting isn’t outrageously expensive by any stretch of the imagination. If you’re so broke you can’t pay to paint a home after you buy it, you shouldn’t be buying a house anyway.

Light Fixtures and Fans

One of the easiest ways to update a dated home is to simply update the light fixtures and fans. The best part is that fans and light fixtures can be relatively inexpensive if you have simple tastes.

When we bought our first townhouse, we replaced every light fixture and fan in the house and it cost us less than $1,000. It brought our space forward from the 80’s into the present. Additionally, it really helped light up our home.

For the most part, these changes are easy to make, too. Simply turn off the power to the fixture and follow the instructions.

I had never changed a light fixture or fan before and, with the help of my dad, I was able to change them out by myself after the first one.

Don’t let dated light fixtures, fans or chandeliers keep you from buying a home. They’re an easy fix.

Flooring Isn’t What You Prefer

I bet you’ve seen a couple walk in a home and instantly complain that it doesn’t have wood floors running throughout it. Who cares?! Simply budget the cost of having someone install wood floors before you move in and you’ll be set.

It’s super easy to change flooring before you move into the home, so make sure you get this done as soon as you close on the house.

That way you’ll enjoy the brand new wood floors the entire time you live there and you won’t have to rearrange your life and furniture to get it replaced later.

Yes, flooring can be one of the more expensive renovations. Chances are you’re already getting a better price on the home because it doesn’t have these higher end finishes.

Decorations/Staging Of The Home

It drives me insane to hear people walk into a home and start complaining about how the current owner has their furniture arranged. I get similarly irritated when people complain about how cluttered a space is.

You’re buying the house, not all of the junk the current owner currently has in the home.

Imagine the space completely empty, or better yet, imagine it with your furnishings and decorations set up. It’ll make a world of difference.

You might even be able to get a deal because no one else can look past the awful decor the current owner didn’t think to get rid of before selling their home.

These Appliances Suck

News flash! Most appliances are easily removed and new appliances can be put in their place. You should check to make sure your desired appliances can fit in the current dedicated spaces that exist, but other than that, simply factor the cost into your offer price.

One big thing to look out for is whether or not the home has access to natural gas, if you’re a gas stove snob. That’s one aspect of the home you can’t change if there isn’t local access.

If you’re smart, you can even put these purchases on a sign up bonus credit card and get a nice chunk of your money back in the form of a cash back sign up bonus.

All of these five things I mentioned above are rather easy to change before you move into a home. If you could get a great deal that only needed some minor changes, why immediately throw the house out of contention?

It doesn’t make any sense to me, but then again I guess I’m not quite as picky as many of the crazy people that show up on HGTV.

What are your thoughts about the small changes I mentioned above? Do you look past these things when looking at houses and factor them into your offers? Or do you only look at houses that exactly fit your wishlist and pay a premium for them? Let me know your thoughts!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Oh Lance, you really pushed my rant button with this morning’s post. I too am a HGTV house hunter addict and I can’t stand most of the people the shows feature looking for houses. Most of them are so particular they should be building a custom home instead of buying, but my guess is they have champagne tastes on a water budget and couldn’t possible afford to build. I know the show probably coaches them in the things to say while touring the houses but really, some of their comments actually show their stupidity. Don’t these divas realize that a stainless steel refrigerator doesn’t chill food any better than a white one? And some of them couldn’t possible live with brass faucets or lighting fixtures, or they must have dual sinks in the bathroom. Of course most of them are currently living in an apartment or rental with precisely those things so where do they come off portraying themselves as so fastidious? And the real estate agents are just as bad when they say something is an easy fix. Don’t like that wall? It’s an easy fix, just tear the wall out, without thinking about whether or not it is load bearing. How often do people remodel their homes anyway? The house hunters always complain that the house isn’t updated. Do people really change things every 5-10 years? If so, maybe that’s why so many can’t afford to retire! Too many of them want in their first home what it took their parents 30-40 years to acquire. Is it any wonder so many of them are deep in debt? Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now. There’s probably a house hunter re-run I need to watch 🙂

    • I think people get stuck in their generation and then don’t realize there is a good chance a different generation could buy their home. If people learn that, they could get a lot more money for their homes.

  2. I agree 100% with this. I have to think that the people that complain about these things on TV would maybe be hamming it up a little bit for the camera, otherwise the show would then be less interesting. Imagine if everybody that walked around just said, “I love the layout and location. I hate the paint color, but we can change that!” It would be a lot less exciting for the dramatic effect that they have to manufacture.

  3. Kendal @HassleFreeSaver says:

    This is a good guide for people wanting to sell their home. I think repainting and decluttering are absolutely essential, as is staging a home to the best of your ability with what you have. You can rent furniture, too, if your college-age futon is too disgusting for public viewing. Updating the floor, appliances and fixtures can get pricey fast, so if you’re on a budget you might decide which one of these upgrades you can afford. Buyers can take care of the rest and customize upgrades to suit their individual tastes.

  4. While I agree with all of these as they can easily be changed, I would rather complain about appliances and flooring as those will be the most expensive changes to make. Decorations don’t matter as those will be gone. Paint is cheap and easy to do and light fixtures and fans can be changed easily. Most people can’t do flooring themselves and appliances (ie stove and dishwasher) can be expensive. I can understand those complaints more than others.

  5. The only thing I don’t care for is when the homeowner renovates the house and it’s crap and I would have to rip it all out after purchase. They think it looks great but the cuts on the hardwood floor are a disaster and I simply refuse to pay for something I have to rip out that the homeowner “renovated” that hasn’t been done right. Things like light fixtures and paint really are nothing to blink at as they are cheap fixes.

  6. I watch these shows on television all the time where people complain about the paint colors or the carpet. I just want to shake them sometimes!

  7. I agree with everything in this article. When I purchased my home it had all of these shortcomings but I saw the potential in the home and made all of these cosmetic changes. I even ripped out old ugly carpeting myself and I am not a handywoman!

  8. While any one of these items can easily be changed, if you have multiple complaints about these items, they could really add up. I could afford a few hundred dollars to fix one of these things, but if it took a few hundred dollars to fix many, that might take me a while to save up.

    • Definitely. You need to consider the changes and factor them into the price of the home or your house shopping budget. A home with all the upgrades will cost more than one without, but don’t complain if the cheap home doesn’t have them 🙂

  9. Have you ever noticed contradictory advice on wall color? One show will say paint the house neutral to sell. The next show will be somebody painting “dramatic” or “accent” colors over the “ugly” walls the last owner painted “drab” aka neutral colors. Yet, to your point, if the walls had been those dramatic or accent colors, the buyers would have complained. Another thing, why do they always destroy the cabinets? Does no one need storage in their garage ? I guess it makes good tv.

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