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5 Ways To Know if You’re Ready to Buy a Fixer Upper


5 Ways to Know if You're Ready for a Fixer-Upper

Brad Allen

The ART of Real Estate was founded with one question: What if buying and selling real estate could be a great experience? I've been asking myself that...

The ART of Real Estate was founded with one question: What if buying and selling real estate could be a great experience? I've been asking myself that...

Dec 6 4 minutes read

What is a fixer-upper? 

If you’re willing to put the work in, you could purchase what’s known as a “fixer-upper", a house that is available at a lower purchase price because it requires some work, including structural and/or cosmetic improvements. You may benefit from a fixer-upper if you’d like more house for your money or you’re interested in flipping it to make a profit. 

How to know if you're ready to invest in a fixer-upper

The right decision to buy a fixer-upper house depends on your unique situation. Consider your budget, needs, preferences and lifestyle before moving forward on a fixer-upper purchase.

1. Is it in a location you love? 

You can fix up a home, but you can’t change its location. Drive around your target neighborhoods and make note of any properties that look like they might need some TLC. If you spot a home in rough shape, consider whether it’s simply one neglected property or if the entire area is in decline.

2. Is your budget ready?

Renovating a home takes considerable time and money, and both budgets and timelines have been known to expand with this type of project. A good practice is to add an extra 20% to your home budget. In some situations, you may want to hire a professional for projects beyond your skillset such as electrical and plumbing work.

3. Can your lifestyle handle the potential disruptions of renovating?

Do you intend to live in the home while it’s being renovated? If you work from home or have young children, for example, living in a home that’s under construction for several months might make things challenging. Consider your habits and standards of living. Think carefully about whether you can live without things, like a bathroom or a fully functioning kitchen, when you’re fixing up your home.

4. Do you have an inspector (or know who to ask)?

When you’re ready to make an offer, be sure to make it contingent on the results of a professional home inspection. Licensed inspectors can point out potential flaws or other critical issues that could present serious problems later on. A professional inspector should evaluate things like the foundation, HVAC systems, roofing, electrical systems, sewage, plumbing and more.

5. Do you have prior homeownership experience?

This is certainly not a prerequisite to purchasing a fixer-upper. Buying a move-in ready home—and moving—can already be stressful. It's not all backyard barbecues and man caves—it can be a backed-up toilet or an overflowing water heater. But if you're up for the challenge, we can make recommendations of preferred local professionals to make it a seamless process. 

The bottom line

Each property is different, and the choice to invest in a fixer-upper depends on your budget, timeline and lifestyle. Be realistic about whether you’re ready to take on such a major project. Don't let cosmetic flaws deter you from a home you may love. Things like broken windows, peeling paint and outdated fixtures can be easily fixed. Instead, focus on the major components of a home so you can anticipate how much you might need to budget for serious structural or functionality repairs. 

Ready to find your fixer-upper? 

It takes time to find a home that’s priced right (even for a fixer-upper) that’s in the right condition so you can give it a facelift and stay on budget. So, you need someone you can trust to help you. An expert real estate agent who knows the area will be able to help you pick the fixer-upper that’s right for you.

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