How to Spot a Lemon of a Fixer-Upper

Our last post covered the characteristics of a good fixer-upper: older homes that can be transformed into dream homes and potentially resold at a profit. But even if you find a competitively priced home in a great area, a home inspection can uncover structural issues extending far beyond cosmetic repairs—a “lemon,” or home with flaws that far outweigh the potential benefits of ownership.Structural issues put an enormous strain on your budget, and should make you think twice before investing in the home. Want to know the top budget-busters of residential renovations? We’ve got you covered. Here’s how to avoid choosing a lemon of a fixer-upper…

Watch out for:*Water Damage: Long-term expose to leaks and flooding can lead to dangerous mold, degraded wood and insulation, and eventual foundation issues. Older homes are particularly susceptible to water issues, since poorly placed drainage systems, tilted driveways, and eroded pipes cause gradual but significant damage to the structural integrity of a home. Be wary of a home requiring extensive repairs due to water damage, as these issues are often ongoing and costly.*Electrical Issues: Another issue common in older homes, rewiring or replacing the electrical system is rarely a DIY project, and hiring a professional will drive up the cost of your renovation quickly. Before buying a fixer-upper, make sure the home inspection doesn’t reveal excessive electrical hazards that make a home dangerous to live in and expensive to repair.*A Damaged Foundation: Often the result of extensive water damage, foundational issues impact the entire home— causing cracks in the walls, uneven floors, and sinking window and door frames. Fixer-uppers with a bad foundation are a risky investment since many problems require you to raise and replace the foundation, a process that can cost several thousand dollars and is only sometimes effective.By avoiding the “lemons” of the real-estate market, you’re better equipped to spot the true fixer-uppers, homes that with a little TLC can return your financial investment and provide you with a unique and personalized dream home. If you need help bringing an older home into the present, we are here to help. Contact us today for resources on finding the best contractors and architects in your area, and be sure to check out our free online-estimator for an initial cost assessment of your next project.

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