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Four Questions to Ask About that Fixer-Upper

Ready for a new-to-you home? We all know that a fixer-upper is sometimes just a dream home in disguise. But we also know that purchasing the wrong property can lead to nightmare levels of expensive stress. Wondering how you can tell if the older home in your neighborhood is a real-estate Cinderella story waiting to happen? Here’s four questions to ask before investing in a fixer-upper.

*Is the price competitive? An ideal fixer-upper should cost significantly less than nearby comparatives, freeing up some of your budget for the necessary renovations. After all, why spend money on a home that requires extra work when you could buy a turn-key alternative for the same amount? Furthermore, a fixer-upper is almost always guaranteed to go over budget, even with careful planning, so securing your home for a low price guarantees you’ll be able to afford the inevitable surprise project.

*What’s the floorplan? Open layouts and floorplans still reign supreme in real-estate, and some older homes simply cannot be renovated to fit the ideal, at least not without extensive changes that may not be worth your money or your time. While some home repairs and alterations are to be expected when working with a fixer-upper, be wary of homes that will only “work” if you remove several walls or build a new addition. When touring potential homes, look for ones with “good bones,” homes that can easily be updated to modern standards without major changes to the original layout.

*What condition is it in? Major flood, termite, or fire damage may render a home too expensive to save, and any potential repairs may necessitate special (and difficult to obtain,) permits. Avoid homes that require you to replace entire systems: think plumbing, ventilation, electrical and stick with the homes that require cosmetic updates that won’t blow the budget: paint, minor landscaping, updated appliances. Of course, be sure to include an inspection clause in your purchasing offer, so you’re free to keep searching for the perfect fixer-upper if an in-depth inspection reveals excessive structural damage.

*Where is it? The age-old real-estate adage—location, location, location—is still very true, and a useful barometer for determining the long-term resale value of your potential home. Homes in desirable areas consistently sell for high prices, so a fixer-upper in a good neighborhood might be worth the risk. If you’re house-hunting in an unfamiliar area, take the time to check out nearby homes and businesses. Are neighboring homes in good repair? Are the nearby businesses established partners in the community? Well-maintained homes and businesses are indicators of high-value real-estate and an important question to consider before investing in a home that requires expensive repairs.

Despite the inherent risks to buying a fixer-upper, carefully considering the above questions can help you mitigate potential problems and find the fixer-upper destined to become your new home. The next step? Hiring the best professionals to help you plan, design, and transform your fixer-upper into something beautiful. Contact us today and let us help you find the best fixer-upper dream team on the islands.

 

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