On paper, it's a dream proposition: you find an old and dilapidated house with all of its original charming features in a prime neighbourhood. Therefore, you conduct a few renovations to turn it into a stunning property and ultimately increase its home value. However, there are some unique challenges that come with this process, and taking on complex renovation projects aren't for everyone. Here are a few of our top fixer-upper tips to get you started.
Buying a fixer-upper can be both rewarding and lucrative all at once, but not all personalities are suited to the challenge. Both patience and composure are key to succeeding, as renovating an entire property can take months at a time, and you will most likely come across some obstacles along the way. Equally, if you prefer smart new builds, you may not enjoy the idiosyncratic design traits that older houses present. On the other hand, if you have a keen eye for crown moulding, parquet flooring and hidden storage spaces, you may relish this type of project.
Before buying a fixer-upper, a crucial step is figuring out your finances. Draw up an estimate of the renovation costs, then subtract this amount from the home's projected market value once the work is complete. This value can be surmised using comparable properties on the same street or in the neighbourhood, as well as by seeking the advice of a local estate agent. When giving fixer-upper tips, experts recommend deducting a further 10% from this figure when you make an offer, to account for unforeseen issues along the way.
To avoid any hidden surprises unearthing themselves when construction begins, make sure a home inspection is carried out long before the purchase reaches completion. This will allow you to formulate a renovation strategy and identify whether or not the changes require certain types of specialised help. A property with cosmetic flaws makes a good candidate for a fixer-upper, but if there are serious structural, plumbing or foundation-related issues, the costs will quickly outweigh the profits you hope you gain.
Even once the home inspection is complete, be prepared for unforeseen circumstances to surface throughout the construction period. This might come in the form of a late appliance delivery, or an old water pipe bursting. Sizing issues are also quite common when you’re installing new fixtures in an old home, since appliances have changed so much across the decades.
As you calculate the overall costs, you may feel like it would be wiser to save money through doing certain tasks yourself. However, recognise it can be both more cost-effective and safer to bring in the experts. If you don’t have the skill set needed to rewire a Victorian home or construct an outdoor deck with a built-in fire pit, there is no shame in hiring professionals for specialty projects.
With these fixer-upper tips, you can begin turning a rundown project property into a luxury abode, and potentially increase its home value too. In the end – if everything goes to plan – you'll have a customized dream home for far less money than it would have cost to build one from the ground up.