Published: December 15, 2017
We know how it goes. You’re on the hunt for a new house, and you’ve been binge watching episodes of popular home remodeling and house flipper shows. Before you know it, you and your spouse have decided your next home should definitely be a fixer upper. However, before your purchase the run down house in need of a lot of TLC, there’s some things you need to consider. Here are seven things to know before investing in a fixer upper:
Make sure you heavily research your contractor before hiring them
Unless you or a family member is a contractor with spare time on your hands, you’re going to need to hire an expert to handle the remodel process. Don’t make the mistake of hiring the first contractor you find online, or even the one your coworker recommended without properly researching them beforehand. Read reviews and google to contractor’s name beforehand to make sure they don’t have a history of walking away from uncompleted jobs or doing subpar work.
A lot of those little fixes can wind up being giant repairs
While everyone goes into a fixer upper with the best intentions of sticking to their budgets, often expensive, unexpected issues in the home pop up. Prepare beforehand by checking electrical and plumbing systems, testing for asbestos, and looking at the roof and foundation before purchasing. In addition, add an extra 10 to 20 percent to your final renovation budget for those surprise repairs. Remember, too, that these repairs can throw off your remodel timeline, costing your even more money.
Don’t plan to completely change the home’s footprint
If you want a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house for your family, don’t buy a fixer upper with only 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. It’s a lot more work to completely change the floor plan of an existing home that you may expect. For example, you may really want to expand the master bedroom into the hallway, but find out the cost of moving that wall would throw a wrench into your budget. In general, buy a fixer upper that has the overall footprint you’ll want with the correct number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
You’ll need permits from the local government
Making changes to the structure, electrical or plumbing systems and design of your fixer upper will require permits from your town’s government. The permitting process can sometimes be costly and time-consuming depending on where you live. Before you set your heart on a purchasing a run-down house to flip, talk to your local permit office to find out what the process would really look like.
You’ll probably need somewhere else to live during the renovation
Don’t assume you’ll be able to live in the house while it’s being renovated. Some of those unexpected home repairs, such as asbestos removal, may require the house be vacated for days or even weeks. Even if the home is safe to live in, there’s no guarantee the house will have electricity or running water during the entire renovation process. Your best bet is to make other living arrangements for the span of the remodel.
The process is far from stress free and hands-off
Sure, in those popular television shows the home owners barely have to lift a finger during their home’s renovation. However, this isn’t the case in the real world. In order to make sure the final design and construction meet your expectations, you’ll need to communicate with your contractor and may even need to take on some of the remodeling process yourself. Also, remember that the fixer upper process can put a lot of stress on couples with changing budgets and frequent need for compromise.
Buying a fixer upper home can be a scary and unpredictable process. However, when properly planned for and executed carefully, the end result is worth the time, money and stress. If you’ve decided to purchase a fixer upper, rent a UNITS to safely store your belongings in during the renovation and have it delivered straight to the door of your beautiful, remodeled home!