Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House.
When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix. As an Oklahoma REALTOR, I advise many of my prospective clients on this issue. Determining the ‘real cost’ of this kind of project is something that needs to be considered when you are balancing your options as a buyer in the Investment and First Time Home Buyer market in Oklahoma City.
1. Decide what you can do yourself
TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.
- Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.
- Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?
2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer
- Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.
- If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.
- Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.
3. Check permit costs
- Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.
- Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.
- Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.
4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work
If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems.
Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.
Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:
- You’re getting it at a steep discount
- You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem
- You know the problem can be fixed
- You have a binding written estimate for the repairs
5. Check the cost of financing
Be sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings.
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Copyright 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®