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WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A FIXER-UPPER

Posted on Jan 26, 2015

People who love old houses will find vintage fixer-uppers irresistible. The dated charm and exquisite detail that vintage houses exude are captivating, taking you back to a golden, bygone time. Old houses can be the stuff of your dreams once you restore it to its former beauty. However, if you do not know what you are getting into, your new old house could become an awful nightmare. While a property inspection could tell you a few things about a home, you need to weigh the benefits and burdens carefully whether that old home you are eyeing will be worth the bargain.

Damaged House for RepairsFixer Upper Homeold-house-upper-new-york-Gabrielle-Holowacz-Flickr

Pros

Customising and DIY

One advantage of buying a faded beauty is the degree of freedom you have with renovating the place. You can knock down walls and edit the floor plan to your liking. Adding a new bathroom and fixing the kitchen can certainly add value to your new old home, upping its equity. Do-it-yourselfers who cannot afford to get a brand-new home especially love this kind of projects because they get to pitch in. After which, when it is time to get a property inspection, you can discuss in better detail with your inspector every inch of the home you built with your own hands.

Savings

A fixer-upper is definitely cheaper than a new construction home. With an old house, you can get a good deal negotiated for a bigger space or to be in a location you like, especially if bids for the property are far and in between. Many neighbourhoods have vintage properties on the market with very low price tags. An old home in a nice location can be a good deal, especially if the total cost you paid is lower than what it normally takes to get into that neighbourhood. Plus, if you are willing to roll up your sleeves, you can save from not having to hire contractors. You can put some of the money you saved towards an inspection instead. If you are in Melbourne, property inspections are available at reasonable price schemes.

Profit from resale

If you spend on renovations wisely, you might be able to make a profit off your fixer-upper come resale time. Making value-adding changes to a home or restoring original detailing can certainly attract buyers, especially if your vintage house is located in a great neighbourhood. Profiting from a property bought at a bargain is definitely a handsome deal.

Cons

‘Sold as is’

As is often the case, most fixer-uppers are sold as is, which means the seller is not going to fix anything in the house you are buying. No matter how bad certain parts of the house are, the buyer is going to be responsible for the needed repairs. As a buyer, you will need to tread carefully in this matter to make sure you don’t spend more than you bargained for. Property inspections are important when evaluating ‘sold as is’ homes to help assess the defects.

Going over-budget

As cautioned earlier, a fixer-upper may need too much work done, which means spending a ton more than you bargained for. Especially if you find one problem after another, fixing the place might take too long and cost a great deal more than you thought. If your house is in Melbourne, property inspections can help you spot serious issues in your prospect home.

Resale problems

Let’s say you went ahead and bought that renovator’s special that needed multiple repairs. However, you suddenly find yourself in a sticky financial situation and will need to liquidate your assets. Unfortunately, your house is not all fixed yet, which will affect how quick you can sell. A fixer-upper can be difficult to resell, especially if the needed improvements have not yet been completed. Granted your vintage property was obviously once a stunner, you may still find yourself stuck with it for a while.

Home to Be FixedAbandoned Home to RepairDelapidated House

Considerations

Before sealing the deal, you would want to think over a few important things about the costs of ‘carrying a home’, in all aspects that apply.

Condition of the house

When buying an old house, expect that you will have to remodel. Additionally, you need to know at what extent you are willing to remodel. For that reason, learn to pick the projects that pay. These are usually houses that require mostly cosmetic touch-ups, such as a fresh coat of paint, updated drywall or new lights and fixtures that go with the theme of the place. Of course, aesthetic improvements are easy to spot right off the bat. Much harder issues to locate are the state of the wirings, plumbing and foundation, which a property inspection can unearth.

Do the math

Property inspections can also tell you a lot about how well an old house is holding up. Once you obtain this information, you should have a professional technician estimate the renovation costs. Be tough with your assessment and include the post-renovation worth if you can, if only just to know the market value of your home.

Location

You also need to consider the location of the house you are buying to see if you – or your future buyers, should you decide to sell in the future – would want to live in that neighbourhood. Even if your house is the worst on the block when you bought it, once you are done with improvements, your vintage home will shine like a new penny and fit right in.

Timeframe

Another thing that you need to estimate is the length of time the repairs will take. If you are the DIY type, consider how much time will be taken off your free hours and weekends to complete the work needed done.

Expect the unexpected

Setbacks are bound to happen. You can count on that with a fixer-upper, particularly if you need to do a major fix-up. All sorts of problems can come up, and some will even have nothing to do with your old house.

Have an inspection

Property inspections help you uncover a lot of ‘under-the-hood’ information about the real state of your fixer-upper. Once you get the inspector’s report, you should have an idea of whether your vintage house will be worth the trouble of fixing. In Melbourne, property inspections are performed only by licensed professionals, assuring you of efficiency and quality.

 

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