If you’re a homebuyer on a tight budget scouring the market for affordable homes, there’s a high chance that you’ve encountered a fixer-upper that caught your eye. In real estate terms, fixer-uppers are properties that require redecoration, reconstruction, or redesign, though some of these properties can be lived in or used as-is. These fixer-uppers are relatively cheaper than most homes for sale, making them seem like a good deal, especially for a novice buyer strapped for cash.
But are fixer-uppers really worth a second glance? Here are ten things to consider before thinking of buying one.
Do you have enough time to oversee renovations?
Renovations, in general, can be time-consuming. Overseeing the renovations yourself is, indeed, a good idea, but you should be prepared to devote most of your time while it’s ongoing. Before making that final decision, assess yourself if you’re able to take on the task. Remember, you may spend your weekends sanding and painting for a long time!
Have you checked what’s really wrong with the property?
We know that fixer-upper caught your eye, but do you really know what’s wrong with the house? Make a list of everything the home needs to have fixed or upgraded. Most houses need minor cosmetic fixes like replacing cabinets and refinishing hardwood floors (some changes can do without professional assistance). On the other hand, some flaws need costly fixes, and you have to be financially prepared for them.
Are there structural issues that need major repairs?
That said, structural issues like roofs, foundation, and drainage systems cost a lot of money to be fixed, so it’s ideal that you thoroughly check your potential home’s structure and systems. If the fixer-upper requires a lot of structural repairs, you may want to reconsider.
Do you have a place to stay during the renovation?
If you have a temporary place to stay while the renovations are ongoing, the idea to buy a fixer-upper could be non-negotiable. However, if you need to live in the house your purchasing immediately, it can be a blaring issue. Staying in a hotel for an extended period while you make repairs should never be an option, as it can become a hassle and can be very expensive.
Do you need to hire a contractor?
Take the time to do thorough research before hiring a contractor for your home renovation. Consider at least three contractors, ask for their references, and check out their portfolios of previous works. Never hire a contractor without seeing proof of their capabilities and always get estimates and plans in writing before they begin work on the property.
Are renovations really within your budget?
Let’s be honest: are renovations really within your tight budget? If you’re struggling to find funds for your downpayment, purchasing a fixer-upper may not be such a good idea. Buying a home that needs some work will need a bit more budget for surprise issues unless you have viable financing options within your midst.
Are you able to apply for a loan?
Consider FHA housing loans applicable to your situation before signing those papers. There are several options available for potential homebuyers, and you should do enough research to find out which loan can assist you with your buying intentions.
Do you have a strong support system?
Renovations can be extremely stressful when you’re doing it as a family and even more so when you’re going through it solo. Build a strong support system that you can rely on when the going gets too tough and complicated.
Are your expectations reasonable?
The result of a renovation isn’t always like what we see on HGTV. Don’t expect your experience to be the same as what you see on TV and develop reasonable expectations. Let’s always be realistic, and let’s avoid setting ourselves up for failure.
Did you seek help from home inspectors?
Home inspectors have years of experience of looking at various homes in a wide array of conditions, so having several of them evaluate your home can help you make the final decision. Their expertise will guarantee that no crucial defects will be missed.
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