Taking a risk on a fixer-upper of a house is not exactly new. In fact, so many lifestyle shows have made it a pretty popular thing to do nowadays.
Since they require some work, the competition isn’t too stiff among homebuyers regarding these types of houses. They also tend to cost a lot less than newer homes, which is a great plus for those working on a tight budget.
Still, fixer-uppers don’t just offer all these advantages. They also take a lot of work to update and restore into a good working condition. This work also costs a significant amount of money.
The issue homebuyers now face is: when do you know if a fixer-upper is right for you? We have some tips to guide you through it.
When a Fixer-upper Is a Good Idea
Several tells make a fixer-upper a potentially great decision for you. Here are some of the biggest ones to note before heading to your mortgage lender and looking for homes.
- The home is in a great location.
Whether you plan to live in the house or sell it later on, location is one of the most important aspects of choosing a fixer-upper. Remember: you can always renovate a home, but you are tied to the neighborhood the house is in forever.
Finding a home that needs work in an in-demand neighborhood offers promise for the future. Make sure to check homes in the same area, too. See if they are well-maintained, occupied, and how much they usually sell for. These are often good signs that a neighborhood is marketable for future buyers and tenants.
- The bones of the property are promising.
Look at the property itself and its condition. First, check on the floor plan of the home. How many bedrooms and bathrooms are there? Does the property have features of interest, such as a mudroom or patio?
Pay attention to the layout of the home and see how well one area flows to the next. Poor floor planning will mean spending on structural renovations to take down walls and put up new ones.
For resale value, the more bedrooms and bathrooms you have, the better. Families with young children will also prefer bedrooms that are located near each other.
- You know how to do some repairs yourself.
A great fixer-upper is one that you can save a considerable amount of money on despite it needing repairs. One way to make sure of this is by assessing if the repairs the house needs are ones you can accomplish without the help of a contractor.
One tip is to check if any of the home’s imperfections are aesthetic, such as bad paint jobs, replacing old carpets, and broken windows. These are easier to fix on your own. However, you will need a professional if the issues need more technical knowledge, such as faulty wiring and broken plumbing.
Make Sure You’re Getting a Good Deal
In addition to the previously mentioned factors, it is important to get further confirmation that the fixer-upper you are eyeing is worth the work.
- Always, always inspect the property.
Especially with fixer-uppers, home inspections are important to ensure that the property has no safety and health hazards hiding in plain sight. Hire an inspector who has experience looking at fixer-upper homes, as they will know what areas to pay attention to the most.
Join your inspector, and don’t be afraid to ask questions for your peace of mind. A thorough inspection lets you know if the house has suffered pest damage, mold issues, and other foundation issues.
- Check if you can afford all renovations.
A thorough home inspection is extremely helpful for helping you compute the costs of fixing the property. Aesthetic issues are one thing, but when you find significant structural damage, you need to check against your budget if this is something you can afford.
Many choose to buy fixer-uppers because it means a cheaper upfront purchase. You have to be careful to make sure that the amount you spend on renovations will not just equal or exceed the price you would have paid had you bought a brand new home instead.
Have Realistic Expectations
Lastly, temper your expectations. The house you are buying is called a fixer-upper for a reason. Expect to experience several setbacks and inconveniences along the way.
To avoid surprises as you embark on your fixer-upper journey, proceed with a game plan for your remodeling and finances. Nothing can stop a well-prepared homebuyer who anticipates things before they come up.