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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Real Estate Logic – Buy a ‘fixer-upper’


This month’s column was inspired by a Naperville home that I just listed which was built in 1974 and still lived in by the original owner. Though it had been maintained with pride, it is all original!

Are you considering purchasing a fixer-upper home? It’s an exciting venture that offers the promise of creating your dream home while potentially saving money. However, diving into the world of fixer-uppers requires careful consideration and planning. From assessing the property’s condition to budgeting for renovations, here are some essential tips to keep in mind before taking the plunge.

  • Assess the Scope of Work: Before making an offer on a fixer-upper, thoroughly assess the property’s condition. Take note of structural issues, plumbing, electrical & HVAC systems, and any other major repairs needed. Understanding the scope of work will help you determine if the property is worth the investment.
  • Get a Professional Inspection: Before finalizing the purchase of a fixer-upper, hire a professional inspector to evaluate the property thoroughly. A comprehensive inspection will uncover any hidden issues or red flags that may not be apparent to the untrained eye.
  • Create a Realistic Budget: Renovating a fixer-upper can quickly become expensive. Create a detailed budget that includes the cost of repairs, materials, labor, permits, and unexpected expenses. It’s essential to be realistic about your financial limitations and factor in a buffer for unforeseen costs.
  • Prioritize Renovations: Not all renovations are created equal. Prioritize repairs and upgrades based on necessity and your budget. Focus on essential elements such as the roof, foundation, and structural integrity before tackling cosmetic improvements.
  • Get Multiple Quotes: When hiring contractors or seeking professional help, it’s crucial to shop around and obtain multiple quotes. Compare prices, credentials, and references to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Don’t hesitate to negotiate prices or ask for discounts.
  • Research Permit Requirements: Renovations often require permits from local authorities. Research the permit requirements in your area and ensure that all necessary permits are obtained before starting any work. Failure to do so could result in fines or delays in the renovation process.
  • Consider Future Resale Value: While it’s tempting to customize the fixer-upper to your personal preferences, consider the resale value of your renovations. Opt for timeless designs and upgrades that appeal to a broad range of potential buyers. This will help maximize your investment in the long run.
  • Factor in Time Constraints: Renovating a fixer-upper takes time, patience, and effort. Consider your availability and schedule before embarking on the renovation journey. Be prepared for delays and setbacks, and have a contingency plan in place to manage unexpected challenges.
  • Be Realistic and Flexible: Renovating a fixer-upper is a journey filled with ups and downs. Be realistic about the challenges ahead and remain flexible in your approach. Remember that perfection is not always attainable, and sometimes compromises must be made.

In conclusion, buying a fixer-upper can be a rewarding experience for homebuyers willing to put in the time, effort and resources needed to transform a ‘diamond in the rough’ into their dream home. By following these essential tips and staying informed throughout the process, you can navigate the world of fixer-uppers with confidence and achieve your homeownership goals. Happy renovating!

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Gary Leavenworth
Gary Leavenworthhttp://www.garyleavenworth.com/
Gary Leavenworth is a senior Realtor associate and managing partner of the national award-winning Legacy Team of Coldwell Banker Realty and has been serving Naperville’s real estate needs since 1982 with a career volume exceeding $400 million in closed sales!  If you have a real estate question, email Gary at gary@cblegacyteam.com or call/text him directly at 630.885.1565.


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