Fixer-Upper: To Buy or Not To Buy?

Should You Purchase a Fixer-Upper Home?

Perhaps its a deal that seems silly to pass up. Perhaps it is a hobby; many people truly enjoy restoring a property its original condition and architectural details. Buying a house that needs to basically be gutted is something you really should take a hard look at. You think, “oh I know its a big deal, but I’m ready.” However, theres more to it than that. Here are questions you should be asking.

-What are the huge hidden expenses? Maybe the roof needs to be replaced, the insulation throughout the whole home needs to be ripped out, the house is leaning more to one side, the plumbing throughout the whole house must be re-done.
-What things can we simply not do ourselves?
-What sort of things can we do with little experience and little cash?
-What are the other serious problems with the home that the realtor might have left out?

You’ve Got to Find a Great Inspector
Be sure when you look for an inspector, that you look for someone who knows about houses that are however many years old. Most inspectors know how to inspect newer homes which are usually considered 1-35 years. Then get references and talk to people he’s worked for. If he’s not willing to give you references, then move on. When you find an inspector, follow them around. In cases when you are selling your home, it is a general rule of thumb that you should leave him alone and let him do his job. But, when buying a house, you should definitely hover. Generally, you’ve got to look at the following areas:

. Structure – Will it stand up
. Membrane – Roof, cladding – Will it keep water out and heat in.
. Foundation – is the basement dry? does it have cracks.
. Electrical – Enough power, and properly wired.
. Plumbing – Leaks and pressure.
. Heating – Primarily this is the age and type of the furnace.
. Doors and Windows – These cost more than you think, so get an estimate before buying.

The next important detail is Architecture. Are the rooms of appropriate size or is the floor plan easily convertible to something you can live with and enjoy. Here is the money you can’t avoid spending in this category.

. Roofing – This needs to be replaced every 20 to 30 years. It can range from a re-shingling to a full wood and insulation replacement.
. Furnace – Again, 20-30 year replacement.
. Electrical – IF you’re hunting for a bargain, you’ll probably need electrical work. Most of it is easy and you can DIY if you know what you’re doing.

Check out this great video on How to Reshingle a Roof and this article on, 7 Warning Signs You Need a New Roof.

1 thought on “Fixer-Upper: To Buy or Not To Buy?”

  1. DON’T buy one if you can’t afford it! We had enough money to pay the mortgage, utilities, and the noted repairs that we knew we would have to fix. All of those numbers didn’t break the bank by any means, we were able to live comfortably, which is why we could afford to buy the house and fix it up.

    I would strongly recommend that you write a list of potential PROBLEMS you could run into while fixing up the house INSTEAD of the issues you know you need to fix (the things that the inspector told you about).

    Those are the real expenses to expect, and unfortunately, you won’t know what they are until you start basically gutting the house!


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