Things to Keep in Mind when Buying a Fixer-upper

Story Highlights
  • #1 – Consider the neighbourhood
  • #2 – Focus on the potential of the fixer-upper
  • #3 – Look for structural faults in a fixer-upper
  • #4 – Check out the draining
  • #5 – Consider the electrical wiring

A fixer-upper is a great project to work on if you have the budget for it. It is exceptionally rewarding buying an old house and turning it into a dream home.

This, however, is not always as simple as it may sound. A few wrong decisions and before you know it, it will feel like an episode in Good Times Gone Bad.

These Cinderella stories don’t happen overnight and so, there are a few crucial things to bear in mind if you want your investment to yield a solid return.

Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind when buying a fixer-upper: 

#1 – Consider the neighbourhood

Many real estate agents will advise you to buy the worst property in the best neighbourhood, and they are right!

Once you have renovated the house, it won’t be the worst house in the neighbourhood anymore.

Remember that you are not only buying a house but you are also buying into the lifestyle of the neighbourhood.

If you buy in a suburb where criminal activity is on the rise and there is a general sense of decay, it might turn out to be a costly mistake.

#2 – Focus on the potential of the fixer-upper

When you look for a fixer-upper you will most likely find huge bargains.

Many of the homes will be sold below market value because they haven’t been maintained over the years.

That does not mean that you should look past them. Think about what the house could look like instead of what it looks like at the moment.

Once you have completed your renovations, you can start making a return on your investment and perhaps even sell it at a profit.

Always keep in mind, however, that you need to stick to your budget. 

#3 – Look for structural faults in a fixer-upper

The most important structure of the house is the foundation. It is also the part of the house that is the most expensive to repair.

You might think a few cracks are just part of the general wear and tear of the house but they can lead to serious problems further down the line.

When you buy a fixer-upper take a careful look at the cracks in the foundation and the walls. It is a good idea to also check the areas near the windows and doors.

#4 – Check out the draining

If a house has water problems it can usually be traced back to the drainage system but these problems aren’t always easy to identify.

Some of the common signs of poor drainage include pooling water in the yard and the home, bouncy bathroom floors, and visible evidence of damp.

If these issues are not sorted out before you start building and renovating then it will be even more difficult to deal with as time goes on.

Get a qualified plumber to inspect the draining and to give you further advice. 

#5 – Consider the electrical wiring

The electrical systems of the house can also lead to huge headaches if it is not sorted out before you start renovating.

Faulty electrical wiring is often the main cause of house fires, especially in old houses. You might also find that there are exposed wires in the house and this should be cause for concern.

Have a qualified electrician come out and inspect the property before you buy. If you decide to buy it, have it repaired before making any big changes. 

Buying a fixer-upper is very exciting but can easily turn into a nuisance if you make the wrong decisions. Make sure that you follow this checklist before you invest in a home you need to renovate from scratch. 

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