Hans Struzyna

Hi, we’re Hans and Kristin Struzyna, a powerhouse husband and wife team, offering a real estate experience with your success as the core driver of everything we do. We believe in building authentic relationships, exceptional advice, effective communication, and constantly striving to be the best so we can deliver the best. 

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DRE # 02028425
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DRE # 02029039


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2437 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

4937 Telegraph Ave, Suite A, Oakland, CA 94609


Noob Vs Pro – 5 First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes To Not Make This 2021

It’s 2021! Let’s kick this year off with a video on the top home buyer mistakes I often see people make and what to do instead. My wife and I recently bought a house, as you’ve probably seen from a previous post. We’ve made some really easy fixes to it to make it our style and exactly what we wanted. Today, I’m going to talk about exactly what those fixes are so you can also make them for your own home. Let’s go!

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No. 1 – Not painting

We all know that first impressions are everything. The way the house presents and the way it feels when you first walk in makes a huge difference for how much enjoyment you’re going to have once you move in. So the first mistake that most home buyers make without thinking about is not painting, or at least not realizing that paint will transform a space.

We’ve repainted the walls, trim and ceilings in our entire house before we moved in. And I can tell you, it made a world of difference. Watch the video above to see some before and after shots. 

Simply White by Benjamin Moore for the walls and the base of the walls, and Chantilly Lace for all of the trim. They’re both really nice, warm whites which really modernized the space and made it really awesome.

No. 2 – Not putting in lighting

Alright, so the second mistake I see people making all the time is not putting in lighting, especially recessed lighting. In an older home, it can really kind of modernize the space, and obviously fill it with a ton of light. Anything that feels small, will automatically feel bigger. Anything that’s old, will get a touch of modern.

It’s really amazing how just a couple of LED cans can make all of the difference in it. In fact, next to paint, this is one of the most transformative upgrades you can make. It also gives you a huge bang for your buck.

For about 150 bucks, you can get an LED can put in the ceiling. You’ll need around four of them in a smaller bedroom, six in a bigger bedroom, and obviously, a lot more in a larger space. But for a couple hundred or a thousand bucks, it will absolutely transform your space.

Additionally, if you’ve got some old ugly light fixtures and you want to swap them out for more of a statement piece, it’s really very simple, and actually pretty inexpensive to get a nice big Drum Shade. This is a CB2 22” Drum Shade. I’ve also got 13” Drum Shades in pretty much every other room of the house. For 50 to 100 bucks on Amazon, or CB2, or any of those other wayfarers, you can get a really nice statement piece that will really transform the room. It’s not that expensive and also really easy to install.

Mistake no. 3 - Not sanding and staining their floors

Most people just move right in and take their floors as is, but if you do want to change them, you probably want to do them before you actually move in.


When you take the time you have them sanded and stained, and you don’t walk on them for a couple of days, it looks amazing. Plus, it really customizes the space for you. It takes all the scratches out and kind of removes all the previous owners’ wear and tear that it will feel almost brand new and fresh for you.


So make sure that you do this properly before you actually move in. However, if you’ve already moved in and decided you want to change your floors later on, you can also do it room by room if you have to. But definitely, invest in new floors. It’s not that expensive, and it makes a huge difference.

Mistake no. 4 - Not living in their space long enough before making huge renovations

This is a mistake that a lot of first-time homebuyers do, especially in their kitchens and bathrooms. Coming from our own experience, I can tell you that you won’t really know for sure what you need to renovate (or NOT renovate) unless you actually live in your space first.

Originally, when we bought this house, the previous owners renovated the kitchen. And we thought that for our lifestyle, our cooking, we were going to need to turn the kitchen counter into an island, and then extend the kitchen along the wall.

However, now that we’ve been here for a couple of weeks, we realized, actually, we would hate that. Adding an island would make our kitchen tight and ruin the overall flow. So what we’re probably going to do is keep the configuration and just start to change the aesthetics a little bit to match more of our style, and then put a bigger dining space on the other side of our kitchen.

If we just jumped right into a kitchen or a bathroom renovation, it could cost us an awful lot of money, and then turn out to not actually bring us a lot of joy and enjoyment of the house. So make sure you live in the space if possible, at least for a couple weeks, if not a month or two, before you make any massive renovations.

Mistake no. 5 – Not choosing the right furnitur

The fifth and final thing on my list of most common home buyer mistakes time isn’t actually on the physical space, it’s the furniture they put in there. A lot of people just kind of take what they have from their old place, throw it on the walls, throw it in the space, and call it good.


I get it, there’s an element of practicality to that and life just gets in the way. Admittedly, we’re also having a really hard time furnishing this house, it’s a lot more space than we’ve ever had. That being said, when you get the proportions, the color palette, and all the functionality, right, it feels amazing.

Think about your space.

So what I’m really saying is, think about your space. And trust me when I say this is not easy to do. It’ll probably cause a few disputes between you and your significant other but it’s something to work through in part of your process in your new home. Just think about that with the space, the color palette you bring in, how you match it to your paint, how you match it to the floors, the light fixtures, all those things. I cant recommend creating a Pinterest board enough. Pull inspiration from other places and then try to apply it to your home. All these five home buyer mistakes are not terribly expensive to fix and all fixes are fairly easy to do. The best part? You can check them all out in a couple weeks. With just a little bit of planning and scheduling, it’ll make the world of difference in your home, whether you’re the one buying or selling.

I hope my video on top home buyer mistakes (which can apply to sellers too!) has helped you.

If I can give you more context on the process of buying or selling your home, please do not hesitate to reach out. My information is below. 

Here’s to all your success!


Hans Struzyna,

The market has shifted and you need to be aware of where we are going. I have created a free resource packed with all the information I tell all my clients when they start shopping.

Download my COVID Era Buyers Guide:

(510) 768 - 8228
DRE # 020284245