Fixer Uppers How Do You Really Get A Deal

Dated: 02/17/2018

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Fixer Uppers- How do you really get a deal?

Fixer uppers are often the diamonds in the ruff. You have to see a potential that may be hidden under a lot of cosmetic problems. The trick to getting a good deal is looking for the hidden costs and making an offer to reflect all those potentials expenditures.

Things to Look For that Cost:

1. Structure - Will it stay standing?

When you visit a fixer upper it may look a little scary, but many items are just cosmetic. You want to make sure that the actual structure is stable. Make sure the load bearing beams are not distressed and that there are no obvious indications that the walls won’t stand for long.

2. Roof and Insulation. Will it keep water out and heat in?

When you look at a roof you have to bare in mind that most are only designed to last 20 years. If your fixer upper is older, chances are it will need a new roof soon. Factor that into your offer price. You can also check to make sure there is isolation in place. Attics in particular should have insulation to keep heat from escaping. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but again factor in that cost.

3. Foundation - A strong foundation is key.

When you look for problems with a foundation you want to pay particular attention to the basement. Look for signs of moisture and cracks. Cracks can occur as the property settle into place, but if they are large or are beginning to erode, it can be an indication of a major problem.

4. Electrical - Power is key.

Electrical should be safe and up to date. Be sure to look at the fuse box and don’t be afraid to hire an electrician to come double check things are on the up and up. Electrical work can be expensive. It is worth the money to have a strong estimate of any electrical work that will need to be done after settlement.

5. Plumbing- Water is essential to life.

Plumbing problems can lead to added expenses with a new home. You want to be sure the pressure is strong and that there are no signs of leaking (water stains on ceilings). If you are moving into a rural area you are also going to want the septic inspected to make sure that it is working correctly. Septics should be pumped at least every 5 years. For more information on septics see my blog on septics.

6. Heating - Primarily this is the age and type of the furnace.

Before purchasing a fixer upper you want to get to know how old major appliances are. This includes the furnace, HVAC, and water heater. Ask for any paperwork the seller may have or evidence of maintenance. These items should not be deal breakers, but again you want to keep in mind the cost of replacement if you are making an offer.

7. Doors and Windows - A hidden cost.

Most people don’t realize the cost of replacing windows and doors. It can be thousands of dollars. It is more than just the draftiness you need to worry about. Windows and doors also keep out moisture that can lead to mold formation. Don’t be afraid to make sure windows and doors are functioning correclty.

Keeping all these factors in mind you are going to need a team of licensed professionals in your corner. You will definetly need a trusted contractor. Ask around for a recommendation and be sure they are liscensed. You want to have someone that can do the needed repairs in addition to giving you a reliable estimate of what it will cost to make the repairs. Be sure to have the contractor come with you to the property prior to settlement (or even your offer) and walk the property to help you estimate the true cost of purchasing the fixer upper. And lastly you need a real estate agent you can trust. Your agent should be aware of the market and up to date on home values for your area. It is our job to be your guide through the home buying process. We should be keeping you aware of the process and making suggestions of what the next steps will be.

8. Renovations: To live in it or not to live in it?

Can you live through the necessary repairs. Once you buy your fixer upper it will be yours. You want to make sure that if you are not able to move in right away, you have factored in the cost of keeping your current house (or rental) and paying for your fixer upper.

Don’t let all this scare you away from a fixer upper. These homes really can be the deal of a century and really allow you to make a home your own. You can tailor them to your needs and make out financially on the deal. Just go into the process fully aware of what needs to be done with a trusted team of professionals.

Check out my blog for more info:

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