Are You Up for a Fixer-Upper? What to Consider Before Buying a Home That Needs Work

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Whether a TV show has inspired you or you just don’t have the budget for the perfect move-in ready home, finding a house that needs work is a great idea. However, for it to turn out in your favor, it’s important to be realistic about the process. ThisIsLivin wants you to flourish in whatever home you choose, so here are some things to know that will help you figure out whether you’re up for a fixer-upper.

Consider the Costs

One of the first things to do in your home search is to determine how much you can spend on a home. Online calculators can help you figure things out, and these estimations will take your annual income, loan type, down payment, average APR, and monthly spending into consideration. It’s important to think realistically when you’re shopping around. It’s also important to know how much homes sell for in the area and consult with skilled and knowledgeable real estate pros like the ThisIsLivin Team.

Once you find a home you’re interested in, you need to get it inspected. Keep in mind that if you’re buying a property “as is,” a home inspection may not be permitted. Consulting a contractor is the best way to get an accurate estimate about costs and work needed. Once you have an estimate on renovations, it’s good to add 5 to 10 percent to the sum for unexpected issues. These numbers will help you compare the asking price of the fixer-upper to the selling prices of similar move-in ready homes. It would help if you also kept in mind current market trends since pouring money into certain big projects may not provide the ROI you seek.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate, and be willing to walk away at any time. If the numbers don’t add up, the deal could end up costing you a lot of time, sweat, and money. You’ll also want to factor into your decision the costs of any needed permits and loans.

DIY or Professional?

interior room of house under construction with dirt floors
Photo Credit: Unsplash

When planning out your renovations, you’ll need to decide which projects to do yourself and which ones to hire out. Much of it depends on your budget, current skills, available time, and how much you’re willing to learn. Even though hiring a professional to do anything is more expensive, be sure to consider all factors before trying to do everything yourself.

Ask yourself: Could I learn to do this task quickly? Do I have time to dedicate? Would I need to rent tools? You’ll need a basic toolbox with the essentials (screwdrivers, hammer, tape measure, wrenches, etc.). But beyond that, depending on the task, you may need to borrow or rent the right power tools (e.g., drills, compressors, sanders, saws), and as House Beautiful explains, sometimes the risk (financial or physical) simply isn’t worth it, and you’re better off hiring a pro.

Which tasks come first?

 Part of deciding which tasks come first will depend on which ones you designate as DIY and which ones you’re hiring out. For instance, If you plan to install baseboards in the living room but have to wait for a professional to come in for a ceiling repair, you may have to start a task in another room. Whether you plan to stay or sell the house when it’s ready also plays a role. If you’ve decided that the fixer-upper is the house for you, you can change your plans as you go, but if you want to sell, you’ll need to stick to a schedule. And as HGTV points out, unless you stay in the house for at least a couple of years, you’ll experience a loss with selling.

 If you decide that buying a fixer-upper is the route for you, be sure to mull over the costs before signing the papers. Also, plan out when you’ll do renovations yourself and when you’ll bring in a professional. Finally, try to strategize the order of repairs. Fixing up a house is hard work, but it can bring great satisfaction. Just make sure you’re up for it, and connect with ThisIsLivin for their professional insights and information.

If you are interested in a free design consult, estimate, or have questions please contact us – we are happy to help guide you in your home improvement needs!



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