Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Fixer-Upper

MW-BE489_Fixers_20130621132525_MGThe thought of a fixer-upper sounds like a great opportunity if you are the do-it-yourself type of person or if you are the creative type of person to make a new home really feel like ‘your own’.  It can also appear as a simple solution to save a ton of money on your home while filling in spare time as most people tend to want to buy homes that they could buy as-is, and not have to put a lot of work into.  In some large American cities, a fixer-upper might be your only feasible option in the neighborhood to which you desire.  However, if you perceive fixer-uppers to always be the most economical option, then stop right there.  While fixer-uppers are not necessarily a bad thing, there are quite a few factors to consider before signing for that seemingly low cost home that you plan to put all of your own elbow grease into.  You may be pouring all of your time and money into that home along with your elbow grease.  Here are the most important things to look for in a fixer-upper before you agree to buy that will help you avoid landing yourself in a financial trench:

  • Start from the Bottom…-Examine the ins and outs of the home’s foundation.  Any exposed cracks, wires, pipes are a bad sign.  If a crack is the size of a sideways quarter or larger, it may lead to serious water leaks down the line.  This is incredibly important to look for if you are viewing homes in coastal areas such as Monterey, Newport, Laguna Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, etc.  A beautiful home can easily fall victim to even seemingly harmless weather conditions outside.  The same goes for any leaks that the home exhibits while you are looking at it.  All of these types of repairs can cost thousands of dollars.  Never underestimate the ocean, and even if you are looking inland, all of these concerns have the potential to cost a homeowner quite a hefty chunk of change.
  • …and Make Your Way to the Top-You need to examine your (potential) future house from head to toe meaning that you need to start by evaluating the foundation and work your way to the roof of the home.  Both of these are obviously extremely crucial to the overall stability and comfort of your home.  We are not asking you to ask a Realtor to get up on the roof during an open house, but if you are serious about this home then hire a roofing specialist to tell you whether the home needs a new roof or not.  Keep an eye out for any cracks or missing shingles in the roofing.
  • You are in Love with Your Floor Plan- If your initial reaction to viewing the house is, “well, we can always add/knock down a wall here and there”, you should think again.  Knocking down and adding walls is an expensive process, and definitely don’t look the greatest when they are done at a low price.
  • While You Are at it With the Floor Plan-Examine the floors and walls.  Don’t subject yourself to stained or damaged floors and walls.  Make sure that the wood is not weak or rotting.
  • Incorporate Your Senses When You Choose-Yes, you know that you want to go with the home that is the most aesthetically pleasing and gives you the best overall feeling, but don’t forget about your sense of smell.  If something smells very strange inside the house, it could be an indicator of a big problem: mold, septic tank issues, or even a gas leak.  All of which could be costly for you and your health.  A home inspector can help you identify any of these issues.
  • Pay the Home a Visit After Rainfall-Over here in sunny Southern California, waiting until rainfall to close a deal could potentially take months, and by that time you most likely missed the deal and the home has been sold to someone else.  However, if you are shopping during a rainy week or in a part of California that sees more showers, then see if you can view the house after it rains.  The point of this is to ensure that none of the windows or walls leak when it rains.  These issues can lead to excessive wear and tear, rotting wood, and even mold.
  • Safety First-If you are not familiar with the area, ask your Realtor, go door to door to neighbors, and look up crime statistics in the area.  You don’t want to buy a home where your property is likely to get stolen or vandalized.
  • Make Sure You are Not Going to Be Sharing This Home-Make sure that there are no unwanted guests staying over before you decide to move forward with the deal. Pests such as termites and rodents are a common issue in many households.  I know that I myself would not want to be anywhere near any creepy crawlers, and I sure would not want to go searching for them either.  This is another one of those jobs that if you’re like me, you will not want to do yourself.  Hire a termite inspector.  Termite inspectors can also determine if there are any other living things in the home such as rodents or fungi.

For more information about getting a professional inspection, refer to: http://broadviewmortgageorange.com/next-steps-home-buying-received-financing/ under “After You Have Found a Home and Have Done Your Research.”  Fixer-Upper or not, do not ever move in to a home without getting a professional inspection.  If you do end up finding a fixer upper that passes the tests above, then be sure that you don’t:

  1. forget to measure all of the areas that you are working out,
  2. forget to get a permit if expanding or changing layout so that you are complaint with zoning laws,
  3. do something yourself that is dangerous—those jobs are better left to professionals and worth the extra money over a hospital bill and being out of work for a little while,
  4. use cheap materials.  Cheap materials will most likely wear out very quickly and you will end up spending a lot more money than you had originally planned.

If you have any questions about the information herein, feel free to reach out to the Author, Brittany Williams, at Brittany.williams@broadviewmortgage.com.  If you would like a quick preapproval Click Here, and for assistance with down payment or buyer assistance Click Here.  You are also always free to give us a call Toll Free (855) 692-7623.

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