What to Keep in Mind Before Buying a Fixer-Upper

(4.5-min read)

As demolition professionals, we’ve assisted a lot of home buyers with the necessary demolition required for the renovation of a fixer-upper. If you’re considering buying a fixer-upper home, there are certainly pros and cons to consider as well as questions to ask yourself before you sign on the dotted line. 

Pros of Fixer-Uppers 

Fixer-Uppers Are Cheaper

The first pro may fall into the “no duh” category, but it’s worth mentioning—fixer-uppers are sometimes inordinately cheaper than their move-in ready counterparts. This price reduction goes beyond the time and price to fix a home but is also the uncertainty some buyers are unwilling to shoulder. Their cold feet is another industrious buyer’s gain. 

Nicer Neighborhood Access

Every realtor will tell you that its a good idea to have the worst house in the best neighborhood. While this sounds odd, it merely means that the property value of your home will rise just by virtue of the dirt it occupies. A fixer-upper is essentially a discounted home in a neighborhood you may not have previously been priced out of. Welcome to the neighborhood! 

More Profit When Selling

It likely goes without saying that the less you pay for a home upfront, the more you will make when it comes time to sell it. Whether you’re looking for a new place to lay your head or an investment opportunity, a fixer-upper home provides steep discounts for those willing to take on a project. 

Cons of Fixer-Upper Houses

Renovations Are Expensive

It typically takes more than a needed coat of new paint, new carpet, or a floor buffing for a home to be considered a “fixer-upper.” Even homes with “good bones” may require extensive demolition, renovation, and remodeling necessary to be liveable—let alone marketable. These renovations are likely costly. Doing the math to make sure a home’s projected price is worth the cost of updates is crucial when deciding to take on a fixer-upper in need of extensive repairs. The proper inspections and calculations are essential for determining whether a fixer-upper will be an exciting investment or a money pit. 

Fixer-Uppers Are Time Consuming

One frequent miscalculation many potential fixer-upper buyers make is the time it will take for a home to be livable or sellable. With every passing month means another mortgage payment on the property. If a project goes over schedule even by just a few months, this can equal thousands of dollars in unaccounted expenses. And if you planned on living in a fixer-upper during renovations, realize that this can be a fairly miserable existence. We hope you enjoy sawdust in your cereal.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Fixer-Upper

Is your financing solid?

Buying a fixer-upper is more than merely buying a house—it’s buying a project. On top of needing a typical mortgage, you will also need construction loans and the like. Make sure that you do your homework to find a financing option that you can maintain. 

Is this house a money pit? 

There is a difference between a home in need of a little bit of elbow grease and one that really should be completely demolished. If you understand the repairs and a professional has confirmed your approach, then a fixer-upper can be an incredible opportunity. If mystery remains as to the repairability of a home, it’s likely a money pit. 

Can you make the changes you want to? 

You may have spotted fixer-upper in a coveted neighborhood and arranged a tour with the realtor or owner. Upon walking through the property, you begin to see it not as it is but what it could be. You could move that wall, tear that wall down, build an extra bathroom, extend the patio, etc. Just because you can see these changes in your mind’s eye does not, however, mean that they are possible. Load-bearing walls, inadequate plumbing, and building codes may mean that you can’t carry out your plans for this home. If that is the case, it may not be worth your time, money, or sleepless nights. 

Seek the Help of a Professional

Let’s say you’ve done the calculations and research necessary to make an informed decision—you’re still best off seeking professional help. Before you go to knock down that wall or toss those kitchen cabinets in a dumpster, the demolition professionals from DT Specialized Services in Tulsa, OK can help. Before you swing that sledgehammer, consult the experts at DT Specialized Services.