You’re looking for the home of your dreams, but none of the homes tick off all the boxes on your checklist. What to do, what to do? You may consider taking on a fixer-upper and renovating it into your dream home. As the name suggests, fixer-uppers are a lot of work, but they also have a ton of potential. Is the risk of a fixer-upper worth the reward? Here’s what to know before buying a fixer-upper.
How Much Work Is Necessary?
So you’ve found a fixer-upper you’re interested in! The first thing you should do is estimate how much work the home needs. Does it only need minor changes, like new paint on the kitchen cabinets? Or does it need major work—stuff like a new roof, layout changes, and landscaping? Minor changes will take less time and money to do than major changes. Create a list of what you need to do and cost estimates for each project.
What’s Your Budget?
Buying a home that needs a lot of work isn’t bad if you have the money and time to invest in it. But if you’re working with a limited budget, it’s important to be realistic with your expectations.
Avoid taking on a fixer-upper that requires more work than you can afford. And don’t forget to account for unexpected expenses in your budget. You might think you have enough to renovate a home, then mold or structural issues drain your funds to zero. Leaving some wiggle room in your budget can help you avoid this.
Will You Need Permits?
Another important thing to know before buying a fixer-upper is whether you need to acquire permits. Permit requirements vary from state to state. Some states require you to have permits for even relatively minor alterations to a home, so make sure you check before starting your renovations.
If you renovate without a permit and the state finds out, you may have to undo the work you’ve done thus far, purchase the permits, and start all over again. Some states will even fine you for permit violations.
Will It Be Worth It?
The final question you should ask yourself before taking on a fixer-upper is, “Will it be worth it?” If you think the time and money commitment is worth the reward of a beautiful, customized home, then go for it! But if you’re on the fence about buying a fixer-upper, you may want to reconsider.