Buyers often spend too much time looking at the paint colors and the flooring in a house when, particularly if they are on a budget, they should be focused on the property's location, structure and bones. Bones are things like layout, flow, natural light and size. The old adage about real estate is still true today - "location, location, location." You may find a gorgeous house but if it is next to a loud freeway or in the middle of a commercial zone it may not be the right property to buy even if the kitchen is stunning and the bathrooms belong in a magazine. A house is an investment and so location really matters particularly when you go to sell. You can always remodel a kitchen but it is very difficult to move a house!
I am a big believer in buying the right house in the right area then making it your own. Below is a great "before" and "after" shot of our living room. (That is the same corner in both photos.) We loved the neighborhood and the house had some great features but the public spaces were very dated. Over time we took the mirrors down, added windows, painted, replaced the flooring and brought our own feel to the room. Because our house is built on stilts the windows look into the trees and enjoy glorious sun all day long. The room is us now and not a cookie cutter remodel in someone else's taste. Your home is an extension of you. Don't be afraid to buy something in a great location that needs work and then as time and budget allow make it into a place you love. A little sweat equity goes a long way.