Buying a Fixer Upper

Laurie WallBuying and Selling

buying a fixer upper

As your family grows and your needs evolve, often your housing must, too. When children get older and more space or when they move out to begin lives of their own, it may be time to find a new housing situation. You, as parents, have earned the right to be choosy and to have the home that you really want.

While you could buy a brand new home or have a house custom built, you may find that your needs are better answered by buying a fixer upper and remodeling it to suit your tastes. Finding a home in an established neighborhood means that you get to choose not only the home you want but the community as well. Older homes also have great character, and you can often save money if you don’t build a house from the ground up.

If you are interested in buying a fixer upper, here are a few things to consider.

What Can You Afford?

Naturally, before starting any project, you must think about what you can afford. Also, remember that there are always surprise expenses whether you build from scratch or renovate, so make provisions in your budget for the unexpected.

How Much House Do You Need?

If you need to accommodate a growing family and are looking for a house with character, a sweeping Victorian with a wraparound porch might be just the home for you. But if your children have moved out, a sweet little bungalow might do the trick. Consider how much house you need and how much you are willing to take care of at this point in your life.

Get a Home Inspection

If you can, follow the home inspector around the property as he is doing his inspection. He can point out things that will give you more insight than a simple paper report. What you learn from walking through the house with an inspector can be invaluable and can save you from buying a house that needs more work than you are prepared to do.

Are There Hazardous Materials in the House?

Older houses may have lead paint, asbestos, or other materials that were once commonplace but are now considered hazardous. The clean up necessary to make the home safe may prove to be difficult, dangerous, and costly.

Do Any of the House’s Major Systems Need Updating?

Major systems include the foundation, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and roof. Your home inspector can tell you if you need to make repairs to bring any of these systems up to code.

What Existing Features Are Worth Keeping?

When thinking about buying a fixer upper, consider which features drew you to that particular property. Does it have original woodwork? Vintage tile? Leaded-glass or stained-glass windows? Established landscaping? The features that drew you to the property are the things that you will want to incorporate into your renovation.

RELATED: Mistakes People Make When Buying a House

Before buying a fixer upper and making it into the house of your dreams, it is important to consider your needs. Plan and do research to avoid costly headaches and make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

Let's Do This

Are you ready to go all in on a Fixer Upper? Here are a few more things to consider.