If you’re moving or looking for a new home, you’ve likely seen words like “handyman’s special”, “needs TLC”, or “fixer upper” in those classified ads. Homes listed with descriptions like these may seem like a bargain at first, but do they really fit your needs? If you’re thinking about buying a fixer upper, you should first consider the pros and cons of owning such a home.
The Pros of Buying a Fixer Upper
There are a lot of advantages to buying a home that needs a little work. The most apparent is its affordability; if you’re handy around the house, you can buy a home at a much lower rate, fix it up, and end up greatly increasing its value.
If you’re buying with a mortgage, you may be able to roll the repair and renovation expenses into that loan – meaning that you can fix the home now, add new windows, and spread the repair costs over a longer period of time.
It’s a buyer’s market these days, and fixer upper homes are readily available. You’ll have your pick of many good options, and since you’ll be able to customize it to some extent, you may be in a better position to overlook certain minor flaws in a property.
The Cons of Buying a Fixer Upper
When you’re buying a home that needs TLC, you’ll also need to consider the drawbacks of such a purchase. Cost of renovation is the most apparent con; you’ll need an estimate, which means you’ll have to hire a home inspector. After you’ve done that, make a to-do repair list, putting jobs into structural repair and aesthetic categories. You’ll then need to decide whether to do the work yourself, or hire a contractor.
Buying a fixer upper requires a careful examination of your finances, both now and when the renovations will be finished. It’s important to review your finances before you agree to a mortgage. If you’re planning to stay in the home while it’s being renovated, you’ll need to consider the needs of your family as well. How much will the work interfere with your daily routine? How enjoyable is it going to be, picking your way around huge piles of roofing supplies? Contractor noise, dust, dirt, and other inconveniences can really change your lifestyle – even as these things are going on, you’ll still need to get to work on time, care for kids and pets, and do everything else you normally do. Renovations can take a significant chunk of your time, even if you’ve hired a contractor.
When the job is done correctly and you’ve considered the benefits and drawbacks, buying a fixer upper and renovating it can provide great financial and emotional satisfaction. If you’re ready for a challenge, find a good real estate agent and talk to them about the handyman’s specials in your area.