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Tips for Buying a Fixer Upper

Buying a house that needs renovation? Here's what you should keep in mind.
Posted: January 03, 2020 by Anna Jotham

Whether you're on a budget, a first-time homeowner who isn't afraid to get their hands dirty, or just want the challenge of some DIY, buying a fixer upper may appeal to you for several reasons. You've seen the shows that demonstrate how almost anything is possible, and it's inspiring and intriguing.

Imagining what you can do with a property that needs a little love can be fun, but what should you keep in mind when it's time to buy? Let's put on the work gloves and find out!


Buying a fixer upper? Read this first!

Here are some valuable tips for buying a fixer upper.


Choose your mortgage carefully.

The mortgage you choose can make a difference in your ability to renovate and the affordability of doing so. Some loans, known as renovation loans, allow you to borrow concurrently for both the property and the improvements. You may also be able to pay off that debt for the renovation at a lower interest rate than other financing options, and over a longer time period. Different loan types have different benefits and restrictions; some are more flexible for individuals with lower credit scores. Others require approved contractors work on the project. Loans are as different as homes; explore your options fully.


Choose a house that fits your abilities and your wallet.

If this is your first time taking on a home DIY project, you may not want to buy a home that is in need of massive repairs. If you don't know the difference (and let's face it, most of us don't), bring in a professional contractor to get an estimate for the renovations. Easy fixes like painting, laying carpet, installing light fixtures and replacing trim are a no-brainer. But once you get into foundational issues, roofing problems, plumbing complications and additions, you might want to back away from the property. Bottom line: make sure your skills fit the property you buy and that your budget can bear the load.


Look at the home's layout.

Seems like a small factor, but it's not. A poor layout can turn future buyers off, or if you plan to live in the home, it can be impractical, at best. Worse, changing layout is a costly renovation. Go for the layouts that speak to the average home buyer: multiple bathrooms, well-located bedrooms, great flow and roomy kitchens with multiple entrances.


Consider the location of the home.

Location is a factor you should never take lightly. Even the most impressive improvements to a fixer-upper can't overcome an undesirable neighborhood. Check out neighborhoods that are up and coming, and take a hard look at the houses nearby. Are they well-kept? Are the property owners living there?


Get the right fixer-upper with these tips

Shopping for a fixer upper that fits your skillset and budget, is well located and has a nice layout can be a process. Keep these factors in mind when you begin shopping for a property, and you'll be bit better prepared to make an offer when the right house comes along. And if you're ready to start looking today, give us a call! We're happy to help.

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