Fixer Uppers: To Buy or Not to Buy?


Are you considering buying a fixer-upper house? The prospect of investing in a cheap house, renovating the place, and then moving into your dream home appeals to a lot of people. But before taking the leap, it’s essential to consider the renovation costs and timeline involved with a total home makeover. Here are some pointers on how to determine whether you should buy a fixer-upper, and how you can best prepare yourself for the big project.

Identify the Issues

Start compiling a list of what’s wrong with the house. Are there structural problems? Issues with insulation? What’s the overall condition of the house? Is there rot anywhere? Be sure to get all the details from the real estate agent when you view the house. This will prepare you when you total up the costs of renovation and fixing up the house. You can also hire several different home inspectors to share their expertise and identity all of the house issues. This will ensure that you don’t miss anything major.

Consider the Costs and Your Budget

Once you know exactly what you’ll be working on, add up the estimated costs and duration of each project. How much does it cost to paint the house? Will you hire someone, or do it yourself? What do you have to spend to renovate the kitchen? Contact local construction, plumbing, and painting companies to get the estimated costs and details of each project. Then ask yourself the big question: do these costs align with my budget?

Choose Projects That Will Pay-Off

When it comes to renovating a house (especially on a budget), it’s important to choose projects that are essential, and will make the home safe and liveable. What immediate projects can you afford, and what projects will you have to put off? These immediate, pressing projects are typically ones that will pay off if you decide to resell the house. For example, renovating a rotting bathroom or installing efficient insulation are essential to do before moving in and will increase the value of the house.

Map Out a Timeline

How long will the immediate renovation projects take? How soon will you have to take on the less pressing projects? Figuring out how long each project will take will help you determine whether you’ll have to find another place to live during the renovation.

Determine Your Living Situation During Renovation

Depending on how major the renovations you undertake are, you’ll have to determine whether or not you’ll be able to live in the house during each project. Are there affordable apartments in the area that you and/or your family can live in while the house is under renovation? Do you have family or friends nearby that have ample space for you to stay? This is an important factor to consider before buying a fixer-upper.

Tell us about your plans for fixing up your new home in the comments below!

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