Buying a fixer upper can be a good way to get the home that you’ve always dreamed of at a cheaper purchase price. However, people tend to underestimate the amount of time, effort, and money required to turn that fixer upper into their dream home. While the thought of taking on a project and building the home you’ve longed for is exciting, there are a few things to take note of before buying a property that needs a little – or a lot – of work.
Budget and Time
Before you even begin checking out houses for sale with renovation potential, it’s important to consider the impact taking on a fixer-upper can have on your life. Not only can such a project be a large financial commitment, but it will also take up a good portion of your time for a few months – perhaps even up to a year! From a financial perspective, it’s important to determine how much you are willing to spend overall. While the home you’re considering may be relatively cheap, adding on the costs of renovating may actually cause you to go over budget. Is the home you’re thinking of purchasing at the top of your budget already? Do you have any extra funds that you can allocate to a large renovation project? Are you able to stretch your budget should an unforeseen problem arise?
Personally, it is also worth considering how much time you will be able to commit to a project of this magnitude. Will you be able to live in the home while renovations are underway, or will you have to find temporary accommodations? Do you have any vacation plans in the near future in which you will not be able to supervise the renovation and therefore delay the process? Figuring out how a large home renovation will fit into your lifestyle and budget is necessary before moving forward to ensure that you don’t end up regretting the decision later on.
In and Around the Neighborhood
Once you’re fully committed to the challenge of a fixer upper, the next factor to consider is location. As is the case with any real estate purchase, where you choose to buy a fixer upper is crucial because if you are going to invest a great deal of money into fixing your dream home, you may as well do it in an area that you love.
If you have plans of selling this home in the future, you also want to make sure that the neighborhood in which the home is located is appealing to potential buyers. For example, a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood will be much more attractive to buyers than a home that is situated next to a garbage disposal site, or one in a high-crime area.
Conduct a Home Inspection
It’s in the name – a fixer upper is going to need a little, or a lot, of fixing. However, conducting a thorough inspection before buying a house is crucial in understanding what types of renovations are going to be necessary.
The reality is, some homes are going to require more work and therefore more money to fix. While the average person can usually see any cosmetic concerns such as paint, flooring, and lighting, a thorough home inspection can uncover any structural and plumbing issues the home may have as well.
Understand Zoning Bylaws in the Neighborhood
If you decide to carry out a full home renovation in which you plan to demolish parts of the home or add extensions, it is important to be aware of any zoning and building laws your city may have. If you are looking at condos for sale, while external building laws may not apply to you, there will likely still be certain restrictions and unit guidelines set out by the building association.
All fixer uppers have their own unique repairs that need fixing so it’s up to you to decide what you will be able to handle. While the process may be stressful and can get overwhelming, embarking on a big renovation with an open mind and the right amount of time and effort can produce the home of your dreams.
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