Buyers, mostly first time homebuyers’ eager to purchase their first Windsor real estate, ask me if they should consider a fixer upper. Obviously I can’t answer that question, but I can pose a few questions you need to ask yourself before you proceed with a sale.
In a nutshell, fixer uppers can be a nightmare to many buyers. They can be expensive, have unexpected disasters and can be an emotional drain as well. But there are some good points:
1. They are less expensive
2. Can get your foot in the door in the right neighborhood.
3. Less competition
4. Can sale at profit if repairs and updates made
5. Buyer can become an expert in repairs and home remodeling
6. Get to see a project from start to finish
The problems most buyers have is that they can’t get past the current condition of a home and imagine the potential. In fact, even in homes that are in good condition, if a room simply needs a paint job, many buyers can’t envision what it would look like in a colour of their choice. That’s the problem with buying a fixer upper. Buyers often get in over their head. You need to look beyond the bad paint, worn carpet, bad roof or anything else. Again, most buyers want a home in perfect condition.
So what do you look for if you are committed to buying a fixer upper? Will any home do? The answer is no. There are some features you should not ignore.
As mentioned above, for many homeowners who want to get into an excellent neighbourhood, all they can afford to buy is a fixer upper. So always make sure that the property is located in a sought after area. Don’t buy a neglected home in a bad area, high crime, next to commercial buildings or on a busy street. It just makes it that much harder to sell when you need to. When you find a fixer upper, walk around and look at the other homes in the neighbourhood. Are you surrounded by other properties that need attention? If so, you may want to reconsider. Are lawns well kept? School districts good? Talk to a real estate agent who is a neighbourhood specialist and knows the area well.
Bad layouts can be very expensive to remodel. Not only that, if it involves tearing down walls, this can lead to all kinds of structural problems. Always consider purchasing a home with an open layout and one that flows. Buyers like kitchens and family rooms together with lots of space. For those with small children, bedrooms should be on all together on one side of the home and not separated, such as a master downstairs and the rest of the bedrooms upstairs.
Buying a three bedroom fixer upper is always better than buying a two bedroom as it appeals to the most amount of buyers when you want to sell again. A one bathroom home also is not popular unless you plan on adding more. However, if your home is surrounded by like properties, then you can turn a profit once repairs and/or remodeling is completed.
Make sure you are completely aware of the potential issues of a major overhaul to a home. Again, plan on your budget going over (it always does), and consider the inconvenience, setbacks and stress that often occur if a project doesn’t go according to plan. Buying a home that needs minor improvements is always easier on the budget and not nearly as demanding.
If you have made up your mind to go forward with your home purchase, then its important, more than ever, to get a proper and professional home inspection by a home inspector who is highly regarded and credentialed. Whatever you do, do not skip this step. I don’t care how much you love the house, there is the likelihood that there are hidden issues that you need to know about before completing the sale.
Also, consider the following as well:
1. Home Warranty:
Ask the sellers to purchase a home warranty. Many will do this as they see it as a protection for themselves as well. Not only that, as we mentioned, buyers don’t come looking every day for a fixer upper, so to agree to the sale, sellers may be happy to pay this small price in order to finalize the deal.
2. Talk to your real estate agent and see if they would recommend any other inspections prior to closing on your home. Have your roof looked at, and consider having a professional check out the sewer lines if necessary.