Old houses that need some help can hold a lot of appeal for some people as an opportunity to buy a bigger house, be located in a more desirable neighborhood, or find joy in doing renovations. Whatever the reason, there are fixer-uppers that are worth snagging, and some that should be avoided. How do you tell the difference?
Go into home hunting for a fixer-upper with your eyes wide open. Can you live in chaos for a while? Love DIY projects? Don’t mind having workmen over all the time? And most of all, have you financially planned for the unexpected expenses that will pop-up when buying a fixer-upper?
Be realistic about the money involved. Try to accurately estimate expenses needed to get your fixer-upper up to par. Now add another 10% for the just-in-case problems that might occur. Know what the home will be worth once it’s fixed up versus what you’re going to buy it for now.
Things like foundation upgrades, extensive roof work, and plumbing or electrical system re-dos are typically reasons people say no to a fixer-upper. So an inspection is your best friend in this home-buying process. Make sure you get a thorough one. This is where you will find out if your fixer-upper requires just cosmetic changes, or if there is a $100,000 foundation problem. An inspection will help you know if this is going to be an investment worth your time and the expense, or not.