5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Fixer Upper

There are so many great homes in the Indianapolis area that just need a little bit of love and restructuring to make them truly shine to their best potential. Taking on a fixer-upper can be a good way to take advantage of a great deal on a home and build some equity, but in some cases, it can be too much to handle.

Here are some questions to ask and help buyers determine if taking on a home that needs work is right for them.

Good Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents

What are the neighborhood stats for the home? This is a very important aspect of purchasing a fixer because you can easily go into upgrading and turning a home around believing the equity will rise greatly only to be a little disappointed that the values are not where you expected because the neighborhood is holding the value back. Is the home in a historic district? Fixing up an old home with a unique character sounds like a picture book adventure, but properties deemed historic or in historic neighborhoods are subject to more approval standards than other homes. In many cases, this means a stricter set of parameters for what and how you can improve a home. Sometimes this can be a pricier renovation.

Good Questions for the Inspector

Are there any signs of “hidden” issues? These would be things like water damage pointing to leaks, an unfinished basement having code issues if you were hoping to finish it as livable space if there is anything that may need to be further investigated by a special inspection. What are repairs and costs that most homeowners don’t see or realize? What conditions are the home’s major systems in? There is obvious cosmetic work to be done and an inspector will let you know their thoughts on that, make sure you thoroughly understand the state of major systems like the plumbing and HVAC as well as electrical these things can add up quickly.

A Question for the Contractor

What do you see the total cost of renovations being? After talking with the inspector and forming a plan of what you would like to accomplish in the home, sit down with a contractor (or two) and discuss all of the options. They can talk over what you are hoping the budget could be and how realistic that is and what can be done for that price as well as their total project estimate. They can help you decide on options for getting certain parts of the work done now and others later if you would like to have more time to pay for repairs.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself

Do you like the layout of this home or are you looking to gut rooms and completely change them? When you start looking to remove structural walls, reconfigure plumbing, move air ducts, etc. The renovations start to get very pricey. Do I really want to commit the time, energy, patience, and flexibility to this project? There are many things that are not set in stone with renovating a home and two of the biggest factors are time and money. Even the smallest of remodeling projects can take much longer than projected at the start and have a high possibility of costing more money.

There are so many unknowns just looking at a project versus beginning the work and actually doing it. All construction takes quite a bit of flexibility and patience for the unknowns. Fixer-uppers do help buyers to build more equity and make a home into what they truly want it to be, but it is not a venture to go into lightly thinking there will be little to no hiccups. Yes, do go with a positive mindset, but don’t rule out that the worst is possible. For help finding the right home in Palm Beach Gardens, contact me anytime.

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