SENTINEL KITCHEN WINDOW VIEW SENTINEL POST 031 SENTINEL POST 051When my husband and I walked into our current home the first time, it was a sad sight to see.  Shag carpeting, dark wood paneling, old formica countertops.  And yet we knew it was “the” house for us.  How?  It was UGLY.  And yet the right things were wrong with it.  The carpeting we could tear out.  The dark wood paneling could be taken out or painted over.  Walls could be moved and removed.  Countertops could be replaced.  The home’s flaws allowed us to put our signature on the home and make it our own.  We loved the soaring ceilings, floor to ceiling glass, and huge acre lot with tons of trees.

But another home we looked at was much prettier.  Already renovated in a style we liked.  We could have moved right into that home.  But the WRONG things were wrong with that home.  The driveway was steep.  There was no garage, and due to the topography (steep drop-offs beside the home) no easy way to put one in.  Not enough guest parking – and guests would have to climb up that mountainous driveway.  So while it was beautiful – and we went back to it several times – it was *not* the home for a couple who love to entertain and really want a garage.

This was our experience in the doctrine of the “right wrong things”.

Now, the right wrong things for us would have been just the “wrong things” for some other buyer.  Say, one who didn’t want to have to do ANY renovation.  Or a buyer who couldn’t see past ALL the work that needed to be done (and there was a lot!)  The things that were “RIGHT” for us would have been wrong for someone else.  Not everyone wants a large lot to care for, and not everyone appreciates the 1970s aesthetic.

When YOU are looking for a home, don’t expect to find the house that is exactly right in every aspect.  It doesn’t exist!  Look for the home that has the “right things wrong with it.”

First, determine whether you are willing to do any renovation at all.  If so, the following might be the right wrong things:  old carpeting, Formica countertops, loud paint colors you don’t like.  These are things that are easily changed (of course, if you don’t want to do any work at all, these are just “wrong” things).

Other right wrong things might be a yard that is in disarray but with a little landscaping could be great; or a carport that  could be converted to a garage (if that’s a “right” thing for you).  It’s also important to know, however, the WRONG wrong things.  Maybe a quiet street is important to you.  If the home you’re seeing is on a BUSY street, that’s the “wrong” wrong thing – something that CANNOT be changed, no matter how hard you try.  Put together your list of the WRONG wrong things, and do NOT GO SEE A HOME that has those things.  You’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration.  Other “wrong” wrong things might be: a home in the wrong school district.  A home without a fireplace if you’ve always dreamed of having one.  A home in a bad n’hood if safety is paramount to you.  You see – the “wrong” wrong thing is something that cannot be changed.

So, before you go to look at houses, put together a quick list.  What are the RIGHT WRONG THINGS?  And what are the “wrong” things that you cannot abide – let’s eliminate those houses before we start, but let’s NOT eliminate those that have the RIGHT wrong things.   Determining your right wrong things could be the way to get a deal on a house – and to have the flexibility to make it your own!

Mary Anne Walser is a licensed attorney and full-time REALTOR, serving buyers and sellers in all areas of Metro Atlanta. Her knowledge of residential real estate and her legal expertise allow her to offer great value to her clients. Mary Anne serves on the Committee that drafts and reviews the contracts utilized by all REALTORS in the State of Georgia. In addition, she is a member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors, the Georgia Association of Realtors, the State Bar of Georgia and the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers. Contact Mary Anne at 404-277-3527, or via email: