The housing market is complex and constantly on the move, making navigating the otherwise exciting purchase of a home sometimes less than enjoyable.
Especially in today’s market with limited supply and high prices, I’ve found many houses that need a lot of work. It really seems like people are looking at the market, throwing their hands in the air on their home projects, and trying to hope someone buys their mess. That said, you should be cautious about buying a home that needs major repairs, but not fearful—because it can be manageable to remodel a house.
If done right and thought through carefully, a fixer-upper can save you a bundle of money. But, before you sign anything, make sure you know what you’re about to get into.
Follow these key points when deciding whether to buy a home that needs major repairs.
Do Your Research
Before you buy a house that needs major repairs, I recommend looking at all the major areas and costs to bring the house up to your standards.
For example, if it only needs flooring, paint, and a bathroom remodel, these are relatively easy fixes that won’t take much time or money to achieve.
On the other hand, if it needs plumbing, a new furnace, ducting work, septic line repair, and electrical work, it will take a considerable amount of time and money to invest in repairing the house. That isn’t to say that it wouldn’t be worth it but knowing the full extent of the cost of the repairs will give you an idea of whether it will go beyond your budget or even beyond the house’s worth.
Determine the Type of Repairs Needed
Figure out if the damage to the house is cosmetic, mechanical, or structural. This will be the largest determining factor in whether the house is worth buying in its current state. For this point, I recommend a quality home inspector who can spot those hidden areas you may overlook.
Cosmetic repairs are always an easy fix and will give you the most value for your money.
Mechanical repairs can be made, but they are bigger jobs that require more time and money to finish. Finally, structural repairs are the costliest and require the most expertise to complete.
What Should I Stay Away From?
Anything can be fixed, but the repair cost may cause the total investment amount to be more significant than the house’s worth.
In that case, the house is not worth buying. Some repairs that may be too costly, especially for beginner remodelers, are foundation issues, damaged roofs that have caused water damage, and severe mold issues.
In my experience, making these structural repairs usually requires professional experience and a considerable amount of money.
What Can I Do to Find Out What Repairs Are Needed?
As stated above, I recommend Getting a home inspection. Hiring a professional home inspector to give you a list of the repairs that need to be done is an excellent way to determine the project’s scope.
Home inspectors are a great resource because they are not trying to sell you a job. Instead, their job is to give you a list of everything wrong with the house, especially any repairs needed to bring the house up to code.
You can also hire a contractor to give you a quote for the work you need to do, but they may not give you a comprehensive list.
What Are the Benefits of Buying a Fixer-Upper?
It is usually considerably cheaper to buy a house that needs repairs versus buying a new home or one that has already been remodeled.
You can save even more money if you can do the repairs yourself. But even if you hire a contractor, if the repairs don’t go over the value of the house, you will end up paying thousands of dollars less in the long run.
You get to design your house the way you want and give it your personal touch. For example, if you buy a house that needs repairs, you can change the house into the home of your dreams as you make those repairs.
If the home is livable, you can make repairs over some time, allowing you to save up money and get the best deals on building materials.
The ugliest house on the block might end up being the best for its value.