A fixer-upper is a property that it’s in poor condition and needs some fixing up. Such properties are commonly bought up by investors and renovated in order to make a profit (known as property flipping). However, a growing number of people are buying these properties as personal homes and fixing them up themselves.
The advantage of fixer-uppers is that they are so much cheaper than properties in good condition. This can make them attractive to first-time buyers. Of course, such properties can be risky if you don’t do your research and plan ahead. To help you decide whether to buy a fixer upper, you may want to make some of the following considerations…
Get the property thoroughly inspected
A full home survey inspection is recommended before taking on a fixer-upper. This will help determine the extent of the damage so that you know exactly how much repair work needs doing.
You may want to hire specialists for certain types of inspections depending on the nature of the property. For example, a house meth test may be required on a property previously known to be a meth lab – getting rid of all meth residue could be essential for keeping the property safe. If a property was damaged by a fire, you may want to consider a fire damage inspection. Inspections can also be carried out for water damage.
Budget ahead for repairs
Once you’ve assessed the level of damage, you should consider how much it will cost you to repair and restore. You may be legally required to take on some repairs before you or a tenant can live in the property. Other repairs may not be necessary but may still be worth doing to make the home feel cosier.
While a fixer-upper may be cheap to buy upfront, there could be urgent repairs that need doing that push the upfront costs up considerably. You don’t want to end up spending more than you would on a home in good condition due to hidden urgent repair costs. Obviously, some repairs won’t be urgent and you’ll be able to put them off, but you need to be realistically about which property issues you can live with.
Be careful when buying at an auction
Auctions are a popular place to buy fixer-uppers. You can often get great prices on properties at auctions, but you need to go in with a strict budget and not get caught up in the bidding.
An auction catalogue will usually be released at least a month before the auction takes place. Do not go into the auction blind – look up the properties you’re interested in and view them before you go to the auction. Some of the properties may have already had inspections carried out on them, in which case you should ask to see the report to get an idea of the damage.
Consider taking on work yourself
You can save money when restoring a fixer-upper by taking on repairs yourself. Being fairly DIY-savvy can help, as you’ll have the know-how to take on more tasks. If you don’t have any DIY skills, you can always learn some by watching YouTube tutorials and reading blogs. All in all, it comes down to how confident you feel taking on this work. Having the right tools is also important. You can always pay a professional to carry out all the restoration, but you’ll need to have more money set aside to do this.
Understand the patience required
Buying a fixer-upper requires patience. It could take you longer to move in because you’ll have to carry out various repairs first. You may also be carrying out repairs for years after you move in and it may take longer to achieve a home that you feel comfortable in. Make sure you’re prepared for this.