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Tips for Buying a Fixer Upper
With the housing market currently being favorable to the buyer, now is an ideal time to purchase a fixer upper home. These 5 tips will guide you for your purchase, and ensure that you don’t make any mistakes when it comes to purchasing your next project:
1- Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before making your offer to the seller. If possible, have a contractor walk through the home to check for any major obstacles you might face after the purchase. Having a contractor give you an estimate of the total cost of everything that will need to be done is also a good idea. Don’t forget to include the price of all necessary supplies, and be sure to add on between 10-20% for unforeseen costs.
2- Determine what work you can do on your own, and be realistic! Many home improvement shows make remodeling look easy, when in reality, it can be very difficult and time consuming. Tasks such as ripping wall paper and painting can usually be done relatively cheap, and by you, while electrical work and plumbing need to be done by professionals.
3- Check with the local community or city for required building and remodeling permits, as well as the cost to obtain them. The amount of time it may take to get a permit varies, so allow enough time to get everything completed before your remodel. Also keep in mind that contractors and builders who may be doing the permits may have a different idea for how things should be done. Keep an open mind when dealing with contractors, as they often will lead you in the best and safest direction when it comes to remodeling.
4- Hire a structural engineer to do a structural inspection. Although your contractor may do a walk through, it is never a bad idea to have a qualified structural engineer do one as well. The last thing you want is to purchase a home only to find out it needs $30,000+ of work done to repair the foundation. When deciding whether or not to purchase a home after your structural inspection comes back that the home needs work, a few things to keep in mind are; can the problem be completely fixed, are you purchasing the home at a steep enough discount to make the repairs worth it, and to get a written estimate of the cost of all repairs needed to make the home structurally sound.
5- Include an inspection contingency report in your offer. If there are things that you feel the seller should be responsible for, include those in the offer. Things such as septic and well inspection or pest control inspections are often paid for by the seller, to ensure the buyer knows what they are getting into.
Purchasing homes and fixing them up can become a great hobby, or even a form of income. By keeping these tips in mind, you will keep yourself and your projects above ground, all while giving new life to old homes!