The "unique Fixer-upper"-what Repairs are Acceptable

By: Craig Elliott

If you are buying a home that needs a bit of love, then you will want to know exactly what kind of work needs to go into it, and you should insist on a home warranty for the home before you close the deal. The goal with a fixer upper is that you should be able to understand and repair what is wrong with the home, whether that is a leaky roof, a terribly paint job, or moldy carpets.

A fixer upper can be a major turn off for many buyers, but for other buyer the potential of the home shines through, and the home appears as a gem just waiting to be uncovered. If you want to dig down to that gem, then you will want to know exactly how deep you're going to have to dig, and whether you are digging through dirt or manure to get there.

A home inspection is firs ton the plate, and you should make sure that you have contracted with an inspector that is reliable, handy, and very, very thorough. Find a good contractor through your local chamber of commerce, by contacting real estate agents, and by asking family and friends if they have any recommendation. You should be able to narrow down your choices through these kinds of suggestions. If the house is in a bad state or you want to be doubly sure of the work you are going to have to do, contact two contractors and have them both inspect the property to see what one or the other might have missed.

Once you have your inspection in hand and you see that the home does not have termites, other pest problems, or bad foundations or structure issues, then you can move forward with the sale. The number and types of repairs that you are about to subject yourself to should depend entirely on your budget and how comfortable you feel with your ability to handle each of them. Some things are harder than others, and it is perfectly acceptable to want to pass on certain kinds of repairs, like redoing an entire roof.

Acceptable repairs include things like carpets that are in need of repair or tile that needs to be replaced. You might feel up to the task of replacing the cabinets in the kitchen if they have seen better days, or you might think that the house needs a fresh coat of pain, possibly both inside and out. You might also consider that the landscaping could be in need of "repair" if the yard is in disarray. Especially if you are planning on selling the house after you fix it up, the yard will be very important.

Things to watch out for when it comes to buying a fixer upper, however, include the poor layout of the house, things like pools, and poor roofing. While you may have no problem hopping up on the roof, tearing it off, and replacing it yourself, others might find the prospect daunting at least, and the cost of replacing the roof, especially if there is damage and water rot, can be very high.

If you do not want to spend huge amounts of money refurbishing a fixer upper and trying to sell it again, then a home with a bad floor plan is not going to be a good purchase either. Tearing out walls to create a new, well thought out floor plan might sound like a great idea if you are in love with the exterior of a house, but doing so for the purpose of selling the house is not a good plan considering the cost of moving walls inside the home. As for pools, it can be very expensive to fix up a damaged pool, and not every buyer wants to deal with the hassle of maintenance. Filling them in can also be expensive, and can be way more trouble than it is worth.

Buying a house, even a fixer upper, is an exciting thing. Before you sign on any dotted line, though, consider that you should at least request that your seller purchase a home warranty for your fixer upper. Your home warranty should cover things like the plumbing; the home's heating system, the water heater, the major appliances in the home like washers and fridges, the electrical systems, etc. You will not be able to get a home warranty if these are already in disarray, but if the structure of the home and the basics are sound, then you should certainly ask the seller to provide one. This will protect you from plumbing and electrical problems should they crop up, and some other problems as well.

Home Improvement
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