The media provides an abundance of reference to pristine, new and model-like homes. In addition to this, today’s society places a lot of importance on cleanliness. Many home buyers want a move-in ready home. Finally, we live in a fast-paced world, juggling careers and family responsibilities. We plan our daily routine and moving to a new home must fit within a reasonably comfortable plan.

In spite of this, buyers who want “the perfect home” often consider purchasing a “fixer-upper”. Their primary motivation springs from a strong creative impulse to watch their living space transform and to some day wake up in awe in the midst of their accomplishment. Every homeowner is entitled to his or her own style, after all.

On the other hand, one might wonder how it is possible for fixer-uppers to still exist in the context of the ever-expanding communities where pristine homes and new developments rule. The distressed home is not a factor of trend so much as it is a factor of circumstances.

Some owners simply do not have the means or time to keep their home in top condition; some homes were inherited and the seller prefers avoiding expanses; sudden changes in income due to lay-offs or illness give some homeowners no other option but to walk away.

Savvy fixer-upper hunters know that they will likely pay less than fair market value. They also know that the right improvements and upgrades are worth every effort and every dollar. In fact, fixer-upper enthusiasts can increase the value of their home by two dollars for every dollar spent on home improvements and repairs.

Not all fixer-uppers are created equal. As a rule, even apparently dilapidated homes can be revived if no considerable structural damage exists. If, for instance, the foundation requires a total rebuild, “walk-away” is likely a better term to use and act on than “fixer-upper”.

Finally, home staging experts know a little trick that can add pizzazz to a home and dramatically increase its value at little cost. Paint it. Finally, new lighting fixtures, refinished kitchen cabinets, landscaping and a good overall scrubbing can transform an Oliver Wendell and Lisa Douglas house into a very personable nest.

Some of the most enchanting and impressive homes in Vermont were once fixer-uppers. Perhaps this is because Vermont homes that survive the ages also acquire a spirit of living. This enables us to see the essence beyond the flaws.

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