Geri Reilly Real Estate Logo

Are "Fixer-Uppers" for You?

The Attraction to the "Fixer-Upper"

  1. Maximize Investment: People purchase "fixer-uppers" because they are a great way to maximize investment. The strategy behind the "fixer-upper" is: purchase the home at a lower cost, put time & money into the house by renovating it, and then sell it for a profit. If the home is in a sought-after location, chances of making a profit are increased.
  2. Creative Freedom: "Fixer-Upper" homes allow the buyers to really make the house theirs. They can add their own personal touches and they have a greater amount of design freedom. Most new build homes are already pre-planned and don't allow for many homeowner personal touches. The "fixer-upper" can become the owner's personal environment.

The Disadvantages

  1. The Potential "Money-Pit": The owner's worst nightmare is that he/she buys the "fixer-upper" and finds that they are constantly putting more and more money into unforeseen problems that were not originally budgeted for.
  2. Chaos of Renovating: The renovation project can cause a significant amount of stress:
    • Many people can not concentrate or sleep in a house filled with disorder and dust.
    • Relationships often times take a back-seat to the renovation project. The time consuming nature of the renovation might create a strain on any relationship. On the other hand, if a couple is working together on the project, the late-night teamwork might lead to crabbiness and arguments over the slightest little issues that seem big at the time.
    • "Fixer-uppers" can take weeks... months even to complete. That is a lot of night and weekend hours dedicated to a labor intensive project.

Things to Consider Before Buying

  1. Make Sure the Home is Worth Saving: Walk through with a contractor or architect and get their professional opinions. Take a look at the surrounding houses and see if they're in good shape. If the neighborhood is nice or going through a renovation itself, your chances for making a profit are good.
  2. Coming Up with the Money & Financing: You can either save the money yourself, or finance it from a bank. If your mortgage is for less than the house is worth, a home equity loan could help pay for the materials that are needed to give the home a makeover. Another good strategy would be to finance the renovation in stages which would make the payments more affordable. However, it is essential to make sure the stages will, in the end, add value to the house. Otherwise, the financing is a waste of money.
  3. Quality of Work: It is less expensive to do the labor yourself, however the work needs to be up to code otherwise future buyers won't want to buy the house. Before purchasing, create a plan and budget that will detail how much money is spend on materials, what labor you as the owner will do yourself, and how much money can be spent on professional help.

Questions? Contact us today!


Download this as a PDF.