How to Find a Fixer-Upper That Actually Saves You Money

How to Find a Fixer-Upper That Actually Saves You Money

Sometimes if a home needs work, handy buyers can pick it up at a reduced price. The trick is knowing when doing the work will save you money and when it will cost more to fix problems than to buy one that’s already in good shape. Just because a house has good bones doesn’t mean you should snatch it up. Follow these steps to calculate if that fixer-upper is right for you.

Realistically Evaluate What You Can Do

It looks so easy on HGTV. Contractors knock out walls, replace whole kitchens and landscape acres in 30 minutes of show time. YouTube videos show you how to do anything you might think of trying and Pinterest shows DIY in steps that look foolproof.

There’s a lot you don’t see. Very rarely does a project go exactly as planned. Often there’s no way to know what you’re getting into until you’re already committed. Only plan on repairs with which you have previous experience. Think about the following:

  • Do you have the skills? Painting and stripping wallpaper can be done with anyone who has the patience, but jobs like electrical work should only be tackled by professionals.
  • Do you have the time? Renovations almost always take longer than planned. If you can’t take off work to devote full-time to repairs, you’ll likely be living in a construction zone for months, maybe even years.
  • Do you have the money? Some homes have problems that could keep you from getting financing. For example, if a roof is at the end of its life, insurance companies might be hesitant to provide coverage. If you can’t get home insurance, you can’t qualify for a home loan.

Base Your Offer on the Cost of Remodeling

Get several professional estimates for your repair and remodel. Have contractors give you their price breakdown in writing. For work you’ll do yourself, go to the hardware store and price supplies.

Add between 10 and 20 percent to cover everything you didn’t think of or don’t know about. Keep in mind that if a home looks like it hasn’t been well cared for on the outside, years of neglect have affected it in ways you can’t see and won’t know until later on.

Don’t Forget Permit Costs

Talk to local officials to find out what permits you need and how much they will cost. Sometimes contractors include permit costs in their estimates, but you’ll need to make sure.

Choose the Right Project

Avoid homes with structural issues. The most profitable fixer-uppers are ones that need mostly cosmetic repairs. Sometimes buyers can paint inside and out, install new flooring, replace plumbing and light fixtures and end up with a whole new look.

Save Money Throughout the Process

When you get to work, catch sales to cut down on the price of materials. Sometimes interior doors or cabinets with small flaws can be obtained at a discount and easily touched up. Look for carpet remnants and special-order returns to pay less on renovations.

Watch sites like Craigslist for used items that are like new. Sinks, doors and light fixtures can often be purchased at a steep discount.

No matter what type of home you’re looking for, Hire Realty can help you find it. Contact us today to see what’s available in your area.


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