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We said we would never buy another fixer-upper but we did. Crazy I know! I should probably back up and explain why we went full-circle to buy another house that needed a lot of tlc.
Earlier this year we decided to move closer to family. Somewhere between putting the for sale sign up at our old house and searching for a new home, we learned that our grandfather’s house would be going on the market. He’s 96-years old and moved into an assisted living home. Long story short, we decided to buy our grandfather’s house and that’s how our second fixer-upper adventure began.
Reasons to Buy a Fixer-Upper…and a few tips from someone who’s been there and done that.
There are a lot of reasons to buy a fixer-upper but in my estimation they all revolve around saving money…though we had a few sentimental reasons too 🙂 Just so you know, this post is about buying a fixer-upper to live in, not to flip. You may get good tips for flipping too but I wanted to mention that before you read further.
#1 Reason – To Save Money
If you’re patient and objective, you can find the perfect fixer-upper for your family and get it at a great price.
Buying a house that needs major repairs can be tricky though. This is where being objective comes in. It’s easy to fall in love with a house for it’s charming details but don’t get swept away until you evaluate the true age and condition of everything from the windows to the sump-pump. Take a look at the front and backyard. Are there a lot of beautiful but old trees on the property that will soon need to be removed?
Be honest with yourself about the amount of work needed, the time it will take and above all, what it will cost! It also helps to get a second opinion from a home inspector or contractor who can point out things you may not be aware of.
#2 Reason – To Downsize and Save Money
If you’re willing to buy a slightly smaller fixer-upper, you could save even more money in the future.
We went from a 1700 sq. foot house to 1300. We’re already seeing lower gas bills and things like a smaller roof will be less costly to replace in the future.
Although I do miss the 4-season room we had in our other house, the floor plan in our new home functions much better for our family of four.
Keep an open mind when looking at fixer-uppers. The best house for your family may not be the one with most square-footage.
#3 Reason – To Make it Your Own and Save Money
We bought our grandfather’s house because it had quite a few things going for it like a big yard for the kids, it’s in a great school district and has room for improvement.
Since we had a fixer-upper before, we were able to look past the cracked ceilings and ugly wallpaper and see through to the possibilities. We’ve already started to make changes by giving the rooms a fresh coat of paint and we plan to renovate the kitchen and open up the wall to the living room.
If you’re handy and willing to do the work yourself, you can save a ton of money. That being said, there may be repairs better left to the professionals like electrical work or tree removal. You’ll spend a little bit more but safety first right?
Final Thoughts and Things to Consider
Expect Surprises. Even informed home buyers discover costly surprises as they begin renovations. Think mold behind the walls or critters living in the attic.
Many people who buy “starter homes” believe repairs can be made over time (when they have the money), but that’s not always how it works. Urgent situations may force your hand and your wallet open. If you do buy a fixer-upper, make sure you have extra cash set aside for urgent or unexpected repairs.
I hope these tips help. If you have any questions or thoughts on buying a fixer-upper, leave a message in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.