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How First Time Home buyers Can Find The Ideal Fixer-Upper

How First Time Home buyers Can Find The Ideal Fixer-Upper

In this article written by Bret Engle of the DiyGuys – Bret aims to take away some of the fears and address many of the concerns that first time home buyers may face when considering buying a fixer upper. 


How First-Time Home buyers Can Find The Ideal Fixer-Upper


For first time home buyers, the housing market can be an intimidating place. It can feel impossible to find a ready to move in house that’s in a good neighborhood, good location, perfect size and within budget. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort, a fixer-upper may be the perfect alternative.


Why a Fixer-Upper


A recent survey found that 51 percent of Americans would consider purchasing a fixer-upper according to US News. With so many popular renovations shows on TV and DIY videos online, it’s no surprise that fixer-uppers are quickly becoming a popular option. In fact, most fixer-uppers sell for less than 8 percent market value. This creates an opportunity for new home buyers to enter neighborhoods that may have previously been out of price range. With the proper budget and right planning, you’ll be able to create your dream home.


The Ideal Fixer-Upper


One way to avoid all the costs associated with major renovations and repairs is to find a house that mostly needs cosmetic renovations. Many buyers cannot see past an ugly and dated living room. Bad interior design can knock thousands off a home’s value. Updating the hardware in the kitchen, a full bathroom renovation or repainting are all relatively easy and cheap fixes. If you are planning on selling, Realtor recommends you avoid homes with major structural repairs,  which can quickly drain your budget.


Make sure your fixer-upper is in a good location regardless if you are planning on selling or living are in it after the renovations are done. A desirable neighborhood has good schools, easy commutes, public transportation and is walkable. Keep in mind that the value of the surrounding homes will help predict what you can later sell yours for, knowing their market value will help you set your budget.


Find Your Budget


Calculating the cost of a home is stressful under normal circumstances. To help make sure you are hitting the right numbers, try using an online calculator like this one from Redfin. You have to take into account the household income, down payment, monthly spending, loan type and current APR, but a fixer-upper also requires a renovation budget.


Coming up with a renovation budget can be tricky. It can be impossible to know if any major repairs are needed just by looking at a home, so be sure to hire a home inspector that can if any structural repairs are required or if the electrical or plumbing will need to be updated. If you are already planning on gutting your home or expanding, make sure you budget for permits and look into any zoning laws as well.


As you can imagine, these costs can add up fast. A great way to save money is by DIY-ing as many projects as possible. Before you break out the drill and jigsaw, make sure you know what you are doing. Different people have different strengths, bring in a professional when needed.


To Live in or To Sell


You should think about selling your home the day you buy it. Even ready to move in homes are an investment, and fixer-uppers are no exception even if you are planning to flip it right away or live there for 20 years. As you go through repairs and renovations, remember that one day you will want to sell your home. Start with any large structural projects first, then move into the finer details. This will make your home livable and sellable for future home buyers (Here are 10 quick tips to sell your home as fast as possible). If you do decide to live there longer, as time goes on you can continue to renovate and personalize your home as time and budget allow it.


Break Out the Tools


Purchasing a fixer-upper is a rewarding challenge. Be ready to put in the time, effort and money into updating your new home. There will be unexpected challenges and delays, but you will have your perfect home.



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