Remodeling Fixer-Uppers: a Great Way to Buy Your First Home

From on January 08, 2010 in General Remodel

My daughter and her fiancé are a year and a half into their renovation of a 1952 ranch-style home in Upstate South Carolina. As for us, my husband and I think fixer-uppers are a great way to buy your first home, as well as the second and third one. In fact, we’re on number six. So what’s so great about a starter home that some would call a “money pit?

The Price is Usually Right

home remodeling

Fixer-uppers are often advertised as “sold as is,” “lots of potential” or “in need of some TLC.” These homes lend themselves to bargaining like no others. A good rule of thumb is to find the worst house in the best neighborhood and make an offer.

Significant Profit Margin for Resale

Because others don’t want to do the work but love the location, fixing-up can turn into a lucrative business. The guideline here is to buy low, do it up right and sell high. Our last home yielded a 220 percent return.

Learn More than You Ever Wanted to Know

And if you’re planning to be a homeowner for life, it’s good to know how to hang a ceiling fan, crawl under the sink like a plumber and quiet the running toilet.

It Was All Me!

The satisfaction is indescribable when a room comes together. It’s just about as inexpressible, at least in this article, as the frustration in the middle of the chaos. But it’s so worth it in the end. Really, it is!

How to Avoid the Bottomless Pit:

  • Consider before you buy: location, condition of the structure and configuration. A smart layout can keep the renovation from turning into a demolition.
  • Have it checked out. Make sure it really is your dream home and not the Nightmare on Elm. Home inspections are a good idea.
  • Live in the home while tackling repairs. It’s easier to figure out renovations if you’re in the midst of what works and what doesn’t. Also, you get to know the space’s personality so you don’t force an introverted home toward extroversion or vice versa.
  • Stick with easier fixes that add value: painting, floor refinishing and replacement, landscaping, bath renovations, replacing kitchen cabinetry and appliances and installing energy-efficient windows.

Finally, when your remodeling job is winding down and you find yourself searching online and driving through neighborhoods looking for your next project, instead find a Remodelers Anonymous group. You may have a problem.

Photo Credit: Young House Love