The fixer-upper. It’s an instant gold mine, right?


Home improvement TV shows make remodeling look like a snap. That’s because those folks are experts with a crew and supplies at the ready. Unfortunately, for those of us who aren’t home improvement experts, taking on a difficult remodeling project ourselves can quickly turn into a long process with less-than-ideal results.

To decide if a fixer-upper is right for you and your pocketbook, consider these four points.


1. Do you have the skills and time needed to do it yourself?

Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting cabinet doors, are relatively easy. Others can be downright dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Before you jump into a project, consider whether you have the skill to tackle it.

Living through your remodel isn’t the most enjoyable experience. It’s messy. It’s cluttered. And, it’s downright inconvenient. Do you have time to really handle the project yourself? If you plan to only work on your home at night and during the weekends, this can lead to a long and drawn-out process.


2. Do you have the funds to cover the home and the updates?

The house may be listed for less, but if you don’t have the funds to do the updates, you’ll be living in a ‘gem’ for quite some time. As you evaluate whether the home is a good deal, it’s essential you consider the purchase price plus the cost of repairs.

If you are unable to do the work yourself, get a contractor to do a walkthrough and give you a written estimate. If you plan to do the work yourself, price out the cost of supplies and tool rentals. Either way, add an extra 15 – 20% onto the remodeling costs to help you cover unforeseen expenses.

When it comes time to calculate what a fair purchase offer is, begin by estimating the fair market value for the property if it were in pristine condition. Then, subtract the cost of any upgrades or repairs that the home needs.


3. Will you be able to make the upgrades your considering?

Some remodeling projects can simply be done. Others require permits. And, others simply aren’t allowed due to zoning. Before you sign on the dotted line, you’ll want to make sure any improvements you’re planning to make are allowed legally. You’ll also want to find out which permits (if any) are required and how much they cost.


4. Does the home have a good structure?

Structural work can run you a pretty penny. Unless you are planning to tear the home down and rebuild, you’ll want to make sure the home has a solid structure and foundation. If it doesn’t, you won’t want to buy it unless you’re getting a substantial discount.

Ready to start house hunting for your fixer-upper? Contact me today to get pre-approved, I look forward to hearing from you!