Buying the right house is a big decision, and there’s even more to consider when trying to decide if you should buy a fixer upper. Fixer uppers can take a lot of money and effort to get them back in good shape, but for many people, the work is worth it in the end. For others, it may make the most sense to skip a house that needs a lot of work, and opt for a move-in ready home instead.
So how do you decide if a fixer upper is right for you? Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should buy a fixer upper, and then we’ll look at a few reasons why a fixer upper may not be for you.
Reasons to Buy a Fixer Upper
To Save Money
One of the biggest reasons people are drawn to fixer uppers are their lower prices. Buying a fixer upper can save you tons of money versus buying a new home, especially if you are able to do a lot of the renovations yourself.
Do keep in mind the costs it will take to fix up the house once you’ve bought it. This way you can get a more accurate picture of how much you’ll spend on the home total, which will help you make your decision. HomeAdvisor places the typical range to remodel or renovate a house at roughly $18,000 to $77,000. This of course will vary depending on the amount and size of projects the house needs. You could be looking at at least double that amount if the house needs extensive work.
Another reason to consider buying a fixer upper is if you absolutely love the location. A lot can be changed in a house through upgrades or renovations, but the location is obviously something you can never change. Buying a fixer upper may be worth it to you if it’s in your dream location, has a stunning view, etc.
If you love the character that comes with older homes, buying a fixer upper could be a great option for you. There are features you just don’t see in modern homes like you do in those built many years ago. By buying an older house that needs some work, you can decide what features you want to restore and let shine again, and which ones you want to make completely new.
To Make it Your Own
When you buy a fixer upper, there will be many renovation decisions you get to make. You may even take the house down to its bare bones and rebuild it exactly the way you like. You get to choose what to fix up and how you want it to look, which is a great benefit to buying a fixer upper.
Buying a fixer upper means you’ll have less competition from other home shoppers. Most people are looking for a move-in ready home, so if you decide to buy a fixer upper you may not have to go into a bidding war with other buyers. You may also have an easier time negotiating a good deal with the seller if they don’t have as many offers to choose from.
Reasons a Fixer Upper May Not Be for You
You Don’t Have a Large Safety Cushion
Buying a fixer upper involves taking on more risk than a newer, move-in ready home. It’s extra important to get a thorough inspection done before you finalize your offer, but an inspection won’t always pick up on everything. It’s important to have money saved up to cover unexpected expenses that could pop up during the remodel. While you should have a pretty good idea of what renovations you’ll need to make before you buy the house, you never know what surprises may come up when you start tearing into the house.
For more on saving to buy a home, read How Much Money Should I Save Before Buying a House?
You Don’t Have Time
Buying a fixer upper means spending time on repairs and renovations. If you need to be out of your current place as soon as possible, it may make more sense to look for a home that’s move-in ready. You can choose to live in your new house while it gets worked on, but that definitely comes with its own challenges (more on that next.) If you don’t have the time, or just don’t want to wait on renovations to be done, a fixer upper may not be right for you.
Living Through the Renovation Process
If you choose to live in your fixer upper while you renovate, you’ll have to deal with all the debris and noise and smells that come with it. You may be completely unable to use important rooms of the home while they’re being remodeled. Living in a state of construction while the house gets worked on can be very stressful. If just the thought of living in your new home during the renovation process gives you a headache, a fixer upper may not be right for you.
You Don’t Enjoy DIY Projects
Of course it’s an option to buy a fixer upper and then hire out all the remodeling to a contractor. But many people choose to purchase a fixer upper so they can do some of the home improvement projects themselves, to either save money or to put their own finishing touch on the home. If you’re not a hands-on, DIY kind of person, you may want to consider if buying a fixer upper is right for you.
The Importance of an Excellent Real Estate Agent
One thing that can make or break the home buying process is working with the right real estate agent. If you’re shopping for a fixer upper, it’s especially important to work with a real estate agent you can trust. You need someone who can help you decide which homes have potential, and which you should pass up. When you find the perfect fixer upper for you, the right Realtor will help you put in a smart offer and navigate through the negotiation process.
Don’t already have a real estate agent you love working with? Read more here about how to find a Realtor you can trust.
So, Should You Buy a Fixer Upper?
Buying a fixer upper isn’t for everyone. If you’re thinking about buying a fixer upper, be sure to consider all of the pros and cons before making your decision. Take the time to really think about your own home-ownership desires and what your natural giftings and personality are. Are you someone who values putting your own flair on things and finding unique ways to save money? Or do you value modern, turn-key solutions and saving time over money? Neither is better than the other, just different, and that’s why it’s so important to know what you value most in a home.
If you’re ready to buy a home (fixer upper or not) in the greater Sacramento area, give our team at Quantum Real Estate a call. We have years of industry expertise, and we would love to get the chance to serve you. Simply click here to contact us!