Finding Your Fixer-Upper
We’re back with our second installment of the three-part blog series, “Buying a Fixer-Upper Home.” Last time in “Buying a Fixer-Upper Home – Part 1; Fixer-Uppers Are Where It’s At, Folks!,” we introduced you to the thriving renovation industry with some impressive stats and intriguing renovator habits.
Today in “Finding Your Fixer-Upper,” we’re sharing with you some important tips and considerations to help you select your perfect fixer-upper to call home. PrimeLending likens the process to the game of love.
Love at First “Site”
If you asked 100 real estate agents to name the most important factor of home-buying, we bet most would say, “Location, location, location!”
“It’s the golden rule,” says Renfrow Realty Group Real Estate Agent Karla Renfrow. “Your home’s location and neighborhood sets the stage for the future of your home’s value, as well as its residents’ quality of life.”
So before you fall in love at first “site” with a potential fixer-upper, do your homework on the neighborhood and surrounding areas. We suggest:
- Research the neighborhood school ratings and reputation.
- Test out the “walkability” of your home (i.e., its proximity to the neighborhood park, schools, jogging trails, nature preserves, etc.)
- Drive the surrounding communities and note the upkeep of properties, residential street parking, etc.
- Test out the morning and evening commutes to and from work.
- Talk to your potential neighbors about the community, homeowners’ associations, city support, safety and crime surveillance programs, and neighborhood activities (i.e., block parties, neighborhood garage sales, etc.).
Finding “The One”
When you think about your perfect home, do you envision a wrap-around porch? A three-car garage? A fabulous pool surrounded by a large yard? Look at the things on your wish list and try to imagine them incorporated into the fixer-upper home and lot that you’re considering.
If you think you’ve found “the one,” make sure the acreage and zoning laws will accommodate your design dreams, which may include new room additions, a second or third story, or a basement. Also, check with the applicable homeowners’ association for any rules and regulations regarding the home’s exterior paint colors and design elements.
In addition, work with your real estate agent to gauge the resale value of the home, should you choose to sell in a few years. While finding the cheapest home on the block to renovate may be a great deal now, will it appreciate and hold its value for years to come?
Love is Blind
We get it! You’ve fallen in love with your dream home … even if she still needs a little fixin’ up. But remember, love often blinds potential problems. Play it smart and get your fixer-upper home inspected!
Your fixer-upper may look structurally sound, but an expert can spot major and costly problems that you might miss, such as evidence of mold, termite damage, rotting wood and outdated plumbing and electrical systems. Even if you plan on taking your fixer-upper down to the studs before your remodel, it’s important to know that you’re starting from a good structural foundation. A certified inspector can identify any necessary repairs, which your seller may agree to fix as a contingency of purchase of the home.
Once you’ve found your perfect fixer-upper home, don’t forget to work with a mortgage lending professional to find out about renovation-specific home loans that might be perfect for you. Then, check out our third blog installment coming soon, “Buying a Fixer-Upper – Part 3; Fixin’ Your Fixer-Upper,” to get tips for managing your renovations and making your fixer-upper vision come to life.