Should you buy a fixer upper or project home? If you’ve ever watched any of the home improvement shows they make the idea of buying a “fixer-upper” look incredibly easy. Even the “problems” are minimized. Well, in real life a fixer-upper can be a nightmare if you don’t go into buying it with your eyes very wide open.
Buying a project home or a fixer-upper as they are often called can be a great way to buy more home than your budget will allow. If you have a smaller budget and need more space, it could be the answer. What you need to keep in mind is that the lower up front cost isn’t the end. Fixing up the space can be expensive. There are two ways to handle the improvements that need to be made. First, you can hire a contractor to do the projects. Or, you can do it yourself. Either way, you should have a home inspection done so that you know what issues there may be with the home.
The inspection will probably tell you issues, but don’t count on it telling you everything. Be an educated buyer and know what to look for as you tour the home. Is the wall crack just from settling or does it mean foundation issues? Does that water stain mean there was a leak or there is one? Rely on your Realtor too. They should know the difference between cosmetic issues and structural disasters.
No matter whether you plan on having a contractor fix the fixes, or doing it yourself, you should have some basic home improvement skills. Painting, fixing drywall holes and a few other basics will be a time and money saver in the long run. Even with a contractor doing big projects, if you can paint, you can fix other rooms up yourself.
Remember too, no matter if you do the work or pay someone else to do it, it will cost more money. Yes, those improvements add value to the home, but remember that it’s not money in your pocket until you sell the home. Be wise in the fixes you do, and enjoy the process.