Fixer-Uppers 101: Advice for First Time Home Buyers

With the costs of homes rising every day, it makes sense that most people are looking for homes that could use a little fixing before they move in. It can also be easier to leave your personal mark on a fixer-upper because you can redesign the home to meet your needs and style. If you’ve already settled on buying a fixer-upper instead of a newly built home, then you’ll need to do your due diligence.

Advice for First Time Home Buyers

Here is a checklist that first time home buyers can use:

1.   Understand the Market

The same way you notice the faults of the home you want to renovate is how your next buyer will see it if you’re planning to sell that house in the future. Of course, buyers will always have different interests. However, if you plan a resale in the future, make sure that they align with most of the preferences in the market. In the long run, the house may gain value and give you good returns once you decide to sell.

2.   Set a Realistic Budget

One of the motives for opting for the fixer-upper option is to make smart financial moves and still save money. Setting a budget for fixer-upper houses can be tricky, but the repairs should never go excessively over your budget or take a long time to fix. A professional contractor will help you know if the repair costs will exceed your budget. If this is the situation, then you should look for another option that’s within your budget. If you’re lucky enough, though, you will fix that house at your budget and move in swiftly as planned. Also, do not forget to include your living arrangements while the renovations take place in your budget. Luckily, nowadays, there are many options like Airbnb’s or extended stay hotels where you can stay. Settle on the most affordable choice that equally works for you.

3.   Get Ready for the Emotional Turmoil

It’s always easier said than done. It doesn’t matter whether you have saved up or if you have the best contractor or not. The whole process will involve you, so ensure you’re ready for every step of it until you get what you want. To lessen the stress, set realistic goals and expectations through the whole process and find a reliable team to work with.

4.   Conduct a Full Inspection

The first thing to note is that you must conduct a home inspection no matter what home you want to buy. That said, find a professional home inspector who will conduct a thorough inspection and report all the defects in the house, like the windows. With a report, you can tell if the house is a worthy bargain or not. If the windows seals are defective, they would significantly increase your utility bills, especially in the cold season. If this is the case, you can suggest that your contractor include these specialists who deal with windows with internal blinds to be part of the renovation process. If the house needs a lot of reworking, it will dig deeper into your pockets and be over budget.

Advice for First Time Home Buyers - home buyers

5.   Negotiate With the Seller

Since you conducted a comprehensive house inspection, the end report will give you bargaining power, especially if the house needs a lot of rework to suit your needs. If you and the seller disagree, it is only wise to back down from the deal and look for a better one. However, if the seller considers covering the contingencies, then you may reconsider the offer.

6.   Select the DIY Projects

If you’re handy, you can save yourself from a lot of the incoming costs. Also, handy family members can help you, especially in simple projects like clearing clutter, painting the walls, or taking care of the lawn. Prioritize tasks that are most important to families or anyone who would be living in the house. Ensure that the wiring and plumbing are up to code so that the house is safe for those living there. Also, you should work on essential rooms like the bathroom and kitchen so that your needs are met. As much fun as decorating and styling your living room, this should be a low priority to complete other important construction projects.

7.   Get the Permits

Different towns have different rules. Also, the time you obtain these permits can be unpredictable; therefore, it will be wise to leave this work to your contractor to help you out. At least, they know about the delays and know people in the field, so the entire process may be seamless for them than if you take it up yourself. Additionally, check the local databases to see if the neighbors filed any complaints regarding the house before proceeding with the whole process. That way, you will know if the house is a good deal or not.

As we can see, fixer-upper homes are a good investment option for a new home if done correctly. However, as we stated earlier, ensure that you do your due diligence to ensure that you make the best choice and get a home that’s worth risking for. Follow the required protocol without skipping any step, and you’ll be okay. Also, don’t hurry to buy a home and compare as many choices as you can til you get what you want.

About the Author

This article is provided by Jenn Walker who is an freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top