Smart Tips For Buying A FixerUpper

Dated: 11/30/2016

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Fixer-uppers can be diamonds in the rough, or they can be huge money pits that swallow up all your hard-earned dollars. You will have a better chance of making a success of it if you follow these 10 smart tips for buying a fixer-upper.


First, let's start with what to look for. Granted, depending on why you are buying a fixer-upper (to rehab and turn into a rental property or to live in), different properties will look appealing to you. Here are the five basic things to look for in a fixer-upper.

No. 1: Space
It's a fixer-upper, which means you are going to get more house for less money. Don't buy a shack to fix up. The beauty of buying a fixer-upper is that you can find what used to be a mansion dirt cheap if you are willing to put in the work to fix it up. Look for spacious fixer-uppers.
No. 2: Large yards
Many fixer-uppers you'll find are situated on top of a lot of outdoor space with huge yards in front and back. It may just be too much work to get the home livable for most other buyers who want the yard but not the headache of fixing up the house. That's perfect for you if you are willing to put in the work to have a lot of useable land.
No. 3: Good location
Finding a fixer-upper in a good location that someone else hasn't already thought to snatch up can be hard to do. One thing you want to be sure of when buying a fixer-upper is to find one with a good location, especially if you plan to resell. You don't want to spend thousands of dollars on a home that's too far out for anyone to want to buy.
No. 4: Good "bones"
As long as the foundation is good, almost any fixer-upper can be brought back to life. If the structure is bad — such as bad plumbing, wiring, floorboards and roofing — fixing it up is going to be an enormous expense. Go for fixer-uppers with good bones.
No. 5: Major systems are intact
If after you buy a fixer-upper you have to install an entire HVAC system or you need to completely rewire the house for electricity or cable, it can end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars before you even begin remodeling. Updating major systems is one thing. Replacing and installing all-new major systems is whole different ball of wax.
5 things to avoid
The opposite of all of the things to look for are things to avoid when buying a fixer-upper. Here are just five things to avoid:
 1: Structural damage.

 2: Foundation damage.

 3: Rundown neighborhood.

 4: Lack of utility and cable access.

 5: Liens and encumbrances.
Buying a fixer-upper can be a truly rewarding experience. However, if you are not careful, it could turn into a nightmare. Follow these tips to find the fixer-upper you've been dreaming of. 


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Jim Mazzerina

ABR, CRS, E-Pro, RSPS, SFR, SRES Jim is a “Jersey boy” originally from north Jersey in the Totowa, Little Falls area. He made the move to Stafford about 30 years ago, after finding the perfect....

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