The thought of buying a fixer-upper fills some buyers with dread; of course, others relish the challenge. The trick to coming out ahead is choosing the right fixer upper and making sure it is checked by a number of specialized home inspectors.
One of the best things about buying a fixer upper is that the purchase will not be contingent on the market temperature, because any time is a good time to buy a home that needs work -- especially when you pay less for the home than others nearby.
Buying a fixer upper has many clear advantages:
If you make an offer at the right price, you can easily make money as soon as the transaction closes.
The ideal home is one that everyone will want to buy when fixed up, but few can see the potential due to the current imperfections. This includes worn-out carpeting, a sagging ceiling or paint that is peeling from the walls. While these issues can be easy to fix, most buyers cannot see past them, particularly first-time buyers, who usually want a home that is move-in ready.
If you think buying a fixer upper is the right move, you need to do your homework and make sure you buy the right home. Here are some important features to look for:
Of course, you should also consider the home's condition. Some buyers are not intimidated by major rehab work, but you should consider your expertise and whether you really want to tackle a major project before the home is livable.
As you tour the home, take note of all issues that must be fixed, including those revealed by a
home inspection. Easy fixes that won't break the bank include:
Expensive fixes include replacing HVAC systems, fixing the foundation, reroofing that involves a tear-off,
replacing electrical, plumbing or sewer lines, pouring concrete for steps or a driveway, a complete
kitchen or bathroom remodel and adding a garage or new addition.
It is always a good idea to get a home inspection before going through with a real estate transaction. When you buy a fixer upper, however, you may want to consider other types of inspections. In some cases, the seller can be asked to pay for the cost of the inspection.
No one can say if buying a fixer upper is the right move for you. Consider your expertise and willingness to accept a challenge -- along with the potential pitfalls -- and make sure you do the work necessary to protect yourself as best as possible.