What You Should Know Before Buying a Fixer-upper


The ideal fixer-upper is any type of home that nobody wants right now but will certainly sell in the future. Often, imperfections can easily turn people off, but most of them can be easily fixed. If the problem is the leaky pipe, you can always hire a skilled plumber to make the right repairs.

If you’re watching home renovation shows for a while, you’re probably inspired by the extreme makeovers that took only a week and a small budget to finish. But things are different in the real world. This article will talk about the important considerations of buying a fixer-upper.

Prioritize location

Location, location, location. There’s a good reason why this oft-repeated mantra is so popular in real estate. It’s easy to fix a home, but you can never change the location. That’s why the best fixer-upper should be in a desirable community that comes with useful amenities. This makes it easier to sell it to future buyers looking for attractive neighborhoods.

The last thing you want is to buy an old, dilapidated home in a location you end up hating because of the less than ideal surroundings or low property value of the nearby homes. This can lead to unnecessary feelings of regret after making a purchase.

A great tip is to consult a seasoned real estate agent to understand the location better. The lucky ones end up buying an old house in a sought-after neighborhood, which allows them to live in an area they cannot afford.

Try to explore target neighborhoods to find the best fixer-upper. Be on the lookout for properties that require some TLC. If you found a beat-up home, consider asking around whether the owner intentionally neglected the property or if the market value of the community is in decline. You can also check out local property auctions or online listings that have been on the market for a long time.

When searching for a fixer-upper, check the appealing attributes of the neighborhood, such as proximity to commercial establishments, parks, school district, and crime safety statistics. You should also make sure the nearby homes are well-maintained since they also affect the overall home value. Also, check for aspects that will drive down the home value, such as nearby railway, landfill, busy intersections, road widening, or future municipal projects.

Choose what you can DIY

Home renovation shows make home improvement look fun, simple, and cheap. In the real world, undertaking complex remodeling work can take a lot of time and money than you imagine. The worst part is when the finished product doesn’t yield the expected results, which further decreases your home’s value.

When upgrades are necessary, it’s more cost-effective when the homeowner pitches in. Buying a fixer-upper works for buyers willing to tackle the improvements themselves since it saves a lot of money, and they have the power to decide and control whatever upgrades to apply.

If you don’t have the skills for some DIY work, you can always try basic tasks, such as painting, stripping wallpaper, caulking the windows, and replacing leaky faucets. Potentially hazardous tasks, such as plumbing and electrical work, are best left to the professionals. When hiring a contractor, make sure to devote some time before picking one. Remember, your financial gain could be all gone if the project exceeds the budget because of delays and mistakes.

Pick projects with greater returns

The best fixer-uppers are ones that require cosmetic improvements, such as floor refinishing, drywall repairs, and paint touchups. These upgrades cost less than their actual returns in market value. Other lucrative improvements include new sidings, doors, lighting fixtures, and updated kitchens.

Keep in mind that cosmetic and structural renovations should be in line with the type of community you choose. But you should also be wary of major additions, such as multiple family bedrooms, since they can often incur out-of-pocket expenses. The best you can do is to combine structural repair with cosmetic improvements to boost the value of a fixer-upper further. One example is a roof replacement that comes with a skylight installation.

Still, you do not want to overdo the upgrades. Remodeling investment should not go beyond 15 percent of the median sale price of surrounding homes in the area.

In a hot housing market, buying a fixer-upper is becoming an attractive investment for do-it-yourselfers. Although it involves a lot of heavy work, the rewards are certainly worth the effort. Still, every property is different, so make sure it works on your timeline, budget, and lifestyle preference.

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