Buying a fixer-upper can be a long and exhausting process with a lot of tricky situations that can lead homeowners to regretting starting it in the first place. However, there are a few simple tricks that can prevent this from happening and allow you to surf through the purchase with ease. That can lead you to the home of your dreams on a budget without worrying you’ll do something wrong. Keep in mind that this bring two outcomes – you’ll either end up with the perfect house suitable for renovation, or one that will constantly need repairs and force you to sell it without recouping your investment.
So, here’s everything you need to know about buying a fixer-upper and owning a home.
Start with the basics
If you’re in the market for a fixer-upper, the first thing you should pay attention to is finding the right house. Although this sounds easy, the truth is that the entire project depends on the first decision you have to make, which is why finding the perfect property is so vital.
Before you search the market, you need to decide on the budget and see how much you are willing to spend. Your first step in this regard is to contact lenders to find out how to get a first-time home buyer loan and see how much you can potentially borrow. At that point, you also need to find out how much you will be paying back per month. Don’t take out the biggest loan you can get; pick the one that allows you to buy a house you like and work on it, but which doesn’t leave you struggling with repayments.
After that, you need to see which repairs you can do on your own and thus save a lot of money. These steps will give you an idea regarding the amount of money you can spend on a fixer-upper and how much you’ll be able to spend in the future. Keep in mind that the more do on your own, the bigger the chances are you’ll find a better home, but you should also decide how much work you want to do and how much time you want to spend on repairing it. The alternative is to work on the parts of the house you’ll live in and leave the other parts for a later time. Just be sure to calculate all the expenses because many people never finish the renovations and end up living in a home that’s only partially renovated.
Location, location, location
Sure, you can find cheap houses in some neighborhoods, but you need to ask yourself why those houses are so cheap. Sometimes people like to go for lower prices and end up living far from their work, school and other key locations. Although you think this will save you a lot of money, just think about all the commuting and the gas you’ll spend to get everywhere. Also, think about your children and which school is best for them.
That’s why you need to find a neighborhood that suits both you and your family, and try to look for a house there. Find a place based on your needs and calculate if it really pays off to live far away from everything. On the other hand, don’t rush into buying a home on the same block as your work or on the busiest street in the city center as these properties cost a lot more because they’re close to all the happenings. Just find a balance between these two options and you’ll see the benefits quite soon.
Find the professionals
Australians know how important it is to find professionals who can help you with complicated renovating projects. Anyone can do some minor repairs, but you should leave the building projects to someone who has the experience and is an expert in the area. This is why many Aussies like to find reliable home builders from Sydney to help them with renovations.
For example, you may think that you can create a building plan on your own, but leaving it to the professionals is always a better idea. You can work out the plan and the budget, and then let them do their magic and make your dreams come true. After all, it’s better to leave it to the professionals to do the work than to try to do it on your own and make lots of expensive mistakes. After meeting them for the very first time, you’ll see why you just have to sit back and relax while they improve your fixer-upper. What you can do is be sure what you want from the get go and stick to that without too many changes as these can be quite costly.
Do the inspection
You need to check the law and see if your state allows you to do the inspection before you make the purchase and cancel it if you find something’s wrong. This will guarantee you’ll be safe if you change your mind and you won’t be obligated to go through with the buying process. Some of the inspections you should definitely do are roof certification, pest inspection, sewer line inspection and electrical and foundation inspection – after all, all of these can seriously damage your budget if you don’t find out about them in time.
However, many people opt for houses that have certain issues and ask the seller to lower the price due to that. Be sure to secure yourself and do all the inspections you can before making your final decision. Although you may think that this cost is unnecessary, just consider the amount of money you’ll have to spend to repair all the damages that may happen. Having the fixer-upper thoroughly inspected will save you a lot of money in the beginning, so just check with the inspectors and calculate the costs of potential repairs to see if that fits into your budget.
Be prepared for delays
Even if you like to plan out every part of the renovation process in advance, unforeseen things can sometimes happen and you’re stuck with delays. Some experts say that the estimated time and budget you set for finishing your renovations always turns out to be doubled, especially if you’re doing this for the first time. That’s why you need to plan your budget more carefully and be sure to include every little detail because forgetting only one small thing can cost you a lot of money.
Besides that, getting all the permits may seem easy, but the estimated time can sometimes be extended, which can be a major setback not only for your schedule, but also for your budget. Additionally, organizing different inspections can be a complicated thing because you have to create a timetable that will work for everyone and that can be impossible sometimes. Just find a way you can finish all the inspections in a few days and start with renovations as soon as you can. It goes without saying that talking to someone who has already gone through the process will be the most valuable lesson, so try to find someone who can help you.
The joy of owning a home can disappear soon if you end up with a house that will use all of your money, energy and time. That’s why you need to know what you’re getting yourself into before making the final decision. However, don’t worry because this process can be smooth if you follow these simple rules. For the most part, this will be an easy ride if you plan it carefully and stick to the timeline you’ve created. There might be some setbacks, but don’t let them ruin your plans. At the end of the day, you’re building your dream home, so try to enjoy the process!