How to Tackle Your Fabulous Fixer Upper
Is a fixer upper worth the investment? Even the most fabulous fixer uppers can seem daunting to some soon-to-be homeowners. However, with the right tools and tricks up your sleeve, just about anyone can transform a fabulous fixer upper with sturdy bones into the home of their dreams.
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the work. Even fixer uppers with few problems can be a hassle if the homeowner isn’t invested in the process. Many people might dream of investing in a fixer upper because of the low price and the dramatic transformations they see on TV; after all, there are whole shows built around fixing up old houses. Unfortunately, these shows don’t outline the entire process.
Thanks to ample editing, you will likely see the start, one problem in the middle, and the final result. It doesn’t show the tedium of measuring and cutting wood, charting pipelines for basement remodeling jobs, and environmental companies removing asbestos. This is simply because it doesn’t make for good or interesting television. Even though an entire home remodeling job seems to take a few days in the span of your half-hour television show, it likely takes weeks and that’s with a dedicated crew of professional contractors. TV magic makes the job look a whole lot easier when it only shows images of contractors painting and decorating the space later.
When you’re doing it on your own, you likely won’t be able to transform your fabulous fixer upper in the span of a few weeks. Even with a couple of friends who have experience with carpentry and contracting, your fixer upper might take years to get to become the house that you have always wanted. You never know when one big setback — like faulty electric work — can take ages to fix before you work on anything else.
Are you ready to buy a fixer upper? Here’s what you should know.
Should I buy a fixer upper?
Should you buy a fixer upper? The answer is up to you. Countless people are interested in buying fixer uppers but few people are actually willing to take that next step. After all, a purchase like this is an investment of both your money, and more importantly, your time.
Fixer uppers are attractive because they’re often sold far below market price. In a neighborhood consisting of homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, you might be able to find a fabulous fixer upper for pennies on the dollar. In fact, most fixer uppers are listed 8% below market value price on average. But you shouldn’t buy a fixer upper because of the low cost — you’re going to be putting in a lot more money to fix it up.
Here’s what you might need before looking to buy a fixer upper:
- You have a lot of money and aren’t worried about potentially losing out on the investment.
- You have ample carpenter experience and are excited to work on a new project for the long-term.
- You have experience flipping houses or repairing fixer uppers
- You have resources that make performing this project realistic, like carpenter friends and contacts to electricians and roofers.
- You don’t give up on projects easily.
- You have someplace safe to stay since most fixer uppers are not move-in ready.
Fixing up an old house is not an easy task. It will take time, effort, money, and plenty of resources. As long as you have a plan in place, and you stick to it, you should be able to come out on top.
How to find a fabulous fixer upper
There are plenty of fixer uppers on the market, but not all of them will be the right option for you. The ideal fixer upper — whether you’re looking to live in the home yourself or sell it for a profit — should have a few primary characteristics to consider:
- A good fixer upper might have a lot of land on the property. A fabulous fixer upper should have land and a great location in a desired area.
- It should have unique features that can be updated for higher value, like an in-ground pool that you can refinish or a garage large enough to fit cars or an RV. A quality garage designed to store your RV could save you money in the long run on your RV insurance.
- It should have good bones. Any structural damage or intense water and mold damage can make this space unsafe. In serious cases such as these, it would be better off to knock down the building and build a new one in its stead. If you’re unsure about a fixer upper’s structural integrity, hire an auditor to assess the space before signing that dotted line.
- Most of the issues are cosmetic. Cosmetic fixes can still be costly, but they make for a better deal if you’re looking to flip a house quickly. Serious mold damage is bad; simple mold cleaning, on the other hand, won’t cost you a lot and there are plenty of local companies that can do it safely.
- It has a normal history. Few people want to buy a home that has been the location of a crime. Before you invest in a new home, be sure to do your research.
At the end of the day, a great fixer upper will be a home that you can see potential in.
Be sure to get the proper inspects performed, otherwise, you might need to look for family physicians in the event you breathe in mold or suffer from radon gas poisoning. While these are rare cases, mold is particularly prevalent in humid areas in the northeast and southeastern locations in the United States. Take the home’s location into account and be sure to pay extra special attention to common issues that occur in that specific area.
For example, homes in New York might be prone to water damage and tree roots clogging up pipes. On the other hand, a home in Texas might suffer from foundation issues because of shrink and swell soils. If you’re just starting out, you might want to try fixing and flipping homes in areas that you know well to prevent these issues from getting out of hand. It will also help you to better understand any permits you need to get before construction can begin.
Are you going to sell your fixer upper? Rely on these tips
Are you looking to fix and flip a fabulous fixer upper to sell or live in? Depending on your goal, you might want to pick and choose your repairs carefully.
If you’re looking to sell your fixer upper, you will want to invest in projects designed to build home equity. While this is a good idea for homeowners, too, the way you approach these projects might differ. Remodeling your bathroom with a tub and spa is a great choice if you want to indulge in your bathroom. But if you’re simply looking to get the place move-in ready, a more affordable shower would suffice.
Here are some of the best tips to get the most money back from your fabulous fixer upper:
- Work on the garage. A garage that can hold an RV is a huge investment, but even small garages that can hold a boat for sale are great options. Potential homebuyers want ample storage space and room to work on projects. As such, prioritizing a garage or a basement remodel can make you more money in the long run.
- A new roof will add instant equity to a home. Since these features typically last a couple of decades, a new roof will boost the cost of your home considerably. Every potential homebuyer wants new features like these for the peace of mind. This is also a good opportunity to add something unique, too, like a skylight. After all, the construction has already started: it would be easy to make simple changes that make a home more desirable.
- Hardwood flooring is on the rise again. While some people like the idea of carpets, you’ll still need a quality floor to put the rug on top of. As such, hardwood floors simply aren’t as polarizing as investing in carpeted floors. Not only will your beautiful hardwood floors appeal to more buyers but this desirable feature can give you a big percentage back on your investment.
- Home insulation is another good investment. Knowing a home is safe from drafts and updated with new insulation technology is a huge relief to potential homeowners. No one wants to deal with potentially dangerous asbestos insulation or fiberglass, especially if they have small children or pets. The right insulation could save them a fortune on heating and cooling bills.
Other great remodeling options include refinishing the kitchen and investing in hardscaping outdoors. Now that we’ve been stuck in our homes for months on end because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor spaces are more valuable than ever. Even installing a patio can make a world of a difference to potential buyers.
Tips for making your fabulous fixer upper a home
Are you planning on living in your fixer upper? The first thing you should do is look for the best place to live in.
Just like buying a move-in ready home, the location of your new house is one of the most important aspects of moving in. You want to be within close proximity of family physicians, a great local diner, and a store to buy your groceries. Even if you prefer a more rural location, you still want to be within driving distance of a hospital in the event of an accident. Should you be recovering from any addictions, you’ll also want to look for a nearby rehabilitation center to prevent falling off of the wagon.
You should also take into account if you have — or are planning on having — children. There are ample schooling options in the city, but you might have slim pickings if you go live out in the country. Try to look for schools that are dedicated to improving themselves. Recent signs of school construction can prove that superintendents are trying to make the learning experience better for the kids who attend class there.
Location is everything when you’re looking for a home. Once you have identified the perfect area, only then should you start looking for fixer uppers. You might be looking for a while so be sure to contact a local real estate agent and set alerts on your phone for any new homes going up for sale in your desired location.
Once you’ve found the perfect fixer upper, you can start making it a home.
The best way to make it feel truly like your own is by getting your whole family involved. Of course, children won’t be able to measure and cut drywall, but asking them about their dreams for their room or their input on wall paint can make all the difference. Take the time to plan out every room of the house to match your vision. This will also ensure that you don’t go over budget.
Keep in mind that some projects might have to be put on the backburner when you’re looking to move in sooner than later. Even though you want that home gym in the basement, making sure your toilet flows correctly is more important for your health when you move in. You might also want to forgo any garage projects, even if you’re excited to start investing in auto brake repair for your car. Prioritize the aspects of your house that are essential for living comfortably in order to move sooner than later. This includes repairing windows, fixing your electrical wiring, patching up damage, and more.
Enoy your fabulous fixer upper
Investing in a fixer upper is hard work and should not be taken lightly. While just about everyone can invest in a home, not all have the motivation to follow through with a project like this. Whether you’re looking to buy a fixer upper to live in or sell, rely on these tips to get started.