Saving Money with a Fixer-Upper: What You’ll Need to Know

Does your love for a challenge have you considering a fixer-upper for your first time home? Or, perhaps you’re a weekend DIY warrior looking to up your game to something with a little opportunity for money-making. Or, you want to make your first home uniquely yours with flooring, cabinetry, and paint colors you love. Whatever the reason you’re considering tackling a fixer, there are some important things you’ll need to know beforehand.

 Some of the dingiest spaces can transform into the best parts of a home! 

Some of the dingiest spaces can transform into the best parts of a home! 

A Fixer-Upper Can Be a Bargain or a Nightmare

When you’re searching for the right fixer project in your area, it’s important to find a home that comes with a bargain price tag. However, you’ll need to do a careful cost-benefit analysis to make sure you’re making the right financial choice.

Before you make your offer, make sure you’ve done all your homework. This means knowing what the comparable prices are in the area. For example, the average listing price for a home in Leawood, Kansas, is $530,000. With that in mind, you won’t want to be tackling a fixer-upper project that’s well above that price, as you’ll lose a large portion of potential buyers. This number will also be critical for helping you determine your offer price. You won’t want to pay $530,000 and then spend $150,000 in repairs either.

Pick a House with Projects That Aren’t Headaches 

In order to make a good investment, you’ll need to select a home that doesn’t need money-pit repairs. Money Talk News suggests there are some key items to avoid.

●      If there are any odd smells, take a pass.

●      Don’t buy a fixer-upper if you’re not already in love with the floor plan.

●      Be sure to thoroughly check the basement and foundation for cracks, exposed pipes or wires, and any water.

●      A new roof can come with a large price tag, so be sure to make sure the roof is in sound condition, or know the cost of repair and plan accordingly with your offer price.

●      A leaky bathroom can mean rot and structural damage, so inspect carefully.

●      Avoid homes with ancient plumbing or wiring.

●      Look for signs of rot.

To make the most fully informed decision, it’s best to find a qualified home inspector in your area who can help you assess these types of issues.

 This kitchen has some positives, but could be so much better. Imagine refurbishing the cabinets and re-working the bar stool counter for better flow and functionality for staters! 

This kitchen has some positives, but could be so much better. Imagine refurbishing the cabinets and re-working the bar stool counter for better flow and functionality for staters! 

 

Know What to Tackle and What to Leave to the Experts

Depending on how experienced you are with DIY projects, you’ll have to carefully select what you choose versus what you leave to the experts. Most DIY repairs will require a major tool chest of not just tools, like jigsaws, drills, sanders, and more, but also strong DIY skills. Here are things you should pass on to the professionals.

●      HVAC repairs.

●      Plumbing repairs.

●      Roofing work.

●      Electrical work.

●      Tree removal.

●      Asbestos.

Make Decisions Based on Your Future Plans

If you’re planning to stay in your first home after you’ve made the repairs, then feel free to make selections for flooring, paint colors, and everything else that are specific to your taste. If you’re considering selling when you’re finished, though, you’ll need to make selections that appeal to the majority of home buyers. This means:

●      Classic paint color schemes.

●      A flooring like hardwood or tile.

●      Modern appliances and fixtures.

 With a clean airy feel, this living space hones  Open Concept  yet still homey and cozy. 

With a clean airy feel, this living space hones Open Concept yet still homey and cozy. 

Tackling a fixer-upper can save you money, but it’s important to focus on the word “can.” You’ll need to be fully informed before you step into this type of project to reap the most rewards. If you haven’t already, tune into some popular television programs that focus on fixing up homes, as this will give you a good idea of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Thanks to Bret Engle of DIY GUYS for contributing this awesome article with lots of great tips! Be sure to check them out and pick up a copy of "How to DIY Damn Near Everything" when available! 

 

Anthony West

Real Estate, Entrepreneurship, and whatever else inspires me.