With proper due diligence and the right real estate agent, buying a fixer-upper can be a satisfying and lucrative experience. Buying a bad one, though, can lead to disaster. Here are some tips to help you avoid problems:
Location: A bad house in a desirable neighborhood is almost guaranteed to pay big dividends for the savvy buyer. Here’s where a good real estate agent – as a specialist in local neighborhoods – can be worth his or her weight in gold.
Mass Appeal: You’ll want to look for a home that appeals to the largest number of buyers. That means three or more bedrooms and more than one bathroom.
Sensible Layout: Look past the current floor plan and figure out how the home will work. Today’s buyers look for openness and rooms that flow seamlessly.
Bang for Buck: Avoid costly makeovers like shoring up sagging foundations. Instead, think cosmetic fixes. Plaster and paint, new bathroom fixtures, and even a new roof and energy-saving windows are relatively inexpensive and can turn your ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.
Potential Problems: An investment in a good home inspector can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. You can try requesting a home inspection and a roof certification as part of the deal. Ask your real estate agent about any nearby landfills, reports of contamination and other conditions that could affect resale value. You may even want a structural engineer to examine the property as a condition of sale.