Fixer Uppers


    For first-time homebuyers, buying a fixer-upper can look like a dream. Taking on a massive project may look like an ideal opportunity to create the house of your dreams or quickly turn the house around for a significant profit. The process is frequently complicated, though.

    Here is a handy guide to follow if you’re in the market for a fixer-upper.


    Commit to the Project
    First, decide if you’re ready for the commitment. While fixer-uppers come with many positives (lower sale price, less competition, potential profit), the ensuing process can be stressful. Fixer-upper homes, while cheaper than standard houses, still require an investment. For example, the average listing price for a fixer-upper in Eugene, Oregon, is $360,000. Additionally, most experts recommend you add 20 percent of the total to your budget to account for unexpected expenses — running out of money halfway through the project can be catastrophic.  The renovation process can last months, so make sure you’ll have enough time to get it done. Finally, as part of the buying process, you’ll want to have the home inspected. Generally speaking, cosmetic issues are much easier (and cheaper) to fix than structural problems, which often require experienced professionals to fix.


    Select an Appealing Home that Suits Your Abilities
    As a rule, location drives sales. When researching DIY homes, take particular notice of the quality of the surrounding homes. A real estate agent can help you find DIY properties in your area. Pay particular notice to bank foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) properties.  You can also just drive around your area looking for homes that have been on the market for an unusually long time. Once you find a house, walk the property several times before committing. Take note of the home’s layout and potential issues. On average, the most successful fixer-uppers have three bedrooms and multiple bathrooms. Finally, always take your renovation experience into account when selecting a home.


    Acquire the Right Tools for the Job
    Once you have a general idea of what your home renovation will entail, acquire the necessary tools. Power tools, when used properly, can greatly reduce the amount of work and time required. An impact drill with a range of bits should be one of the key tools in your kit, as it can rapidly bore holes and drive screws. Saws are also incredibly useful and come in a range of styles (jigsaws can cut custom shapes; circular saws are good for straight cuts). An electric sander can help make your cuts look smoother and more precise. Finally, a portable shop vacuum is useful to clean up messes. With a full toolkit (including nails, screws, putty, etc.), you’ll be able to repair whatever you like once you begin your renovation.


    Organize Your Renovation with a Numbered List
    The best way to save time and money is to plan out the renovation process first. The renovation itself should move out to in: begin with foundational and roof repairs to protect your investment. Next, move on to demolition, if necessary, then do structural work. If you have to add or move walls, windows, or beams, do it now. While the walls are still open, add insulation and have experts install new electrical and plumbing systems before drywalling and installing windows. From here, you are free to focus on design, like non-supportive carpentry (eg. bookshelves), painting, surfaces, flooring, and siding.


    Decide Whether to Stay or Sell
    After your renovation is finished, you have two options: you can either choose to live in the newly refurbished home or sell it. Staying in the home will give you the opportunity to design it according to your own preferences, but the cost of renovation might be prohibitive. Selling the home will require careful staging, but it can as much as double your investment.

    Renovating a fixer-upper home is an adventure. While it can be time-consuming, difficult, and stressful, the results — whether the money made from selling the renovated house or the joy of moving into your dream house — often are well worth the trouble. If you plan out your costs, tools required, and renovation steps before starting, your experience will be much more positive.



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