Just about everyone has seen, or at least heard of, the hit show Fixer-Upper starring Chip and Joanna Gaines. You think you have what it takes — minus the camera crew and crazy antics — but there’s a lot more to it than the show alludes to. You’ll need to put in a lot of work and time, but if you are truly dedicated, you can turn a diamond in the rough into a true gem.
Is It Worth It?
As a first-timer in the fixer-upper world, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is if it’s worth it. Before you are quick to respond with a resounding “yes,” consider what factors make it a good idea. For starters, taking on a home in need of major repair allows you to turn it into your dream home. You get to pick all the details, right down to the hardware on the cabinets. However, you need to make sure you have enough funds set aside for the house and the renovations. According to Redfin, the average listing price for a fixer-upper home in Overland Park, Kansas, is $415,000. The lower price of the home allows for a renovation budget, but you need to make sure you aren’t getting in over your head. If you are looking to move in quickly or have a limited budget, a fixer-upper might not be the best option.
Finding the One
In a typical home-buying scenario, you are looking for a home that meets your needs and expectations, but with a fixer-upper, you are looking at the potential it holds. As you shop around and you think you’ve found a winner, consider the location. You could pull off the greatest house flip ever, but if the home is located in bad part of town in a community with less-than-desirable economic growth, school districts, and crime rates, you’ll find that it will be a tough sale.
Look at the layout and the condition of the home as well. Does the layout flow seamlessly, or does it leave you feeling confused? Are you prepared and/or willing to move walls? Will the home’s condition require major demo work or just cosmetic updates? It is always best to have the home inspected by a professional so that you can be made aware of any hidden issues such as foundational problems, pests, mold, and HVAC/electrical/plumbing issues. It can’t hurt to have a contractor do a walkthrough of the home as well to price the renovations and determine if any permits will be necessary.
Fixing It Up
Now for the fun part – fixing up your fixer-upper. The best part about taking on a fixer-upper is that there are plenty of projects you can do yourself. However, there are some that require the work of a professional. Any structural work should be left to the pros; you might not know what lies behind those walls, but chances are a professional has a good idea and can save you from making a costly mistake. Gas, electric, and plumbing work requires a pro as well to ensure that it is done right and doesn’t put you or your family at risk.
All this talk of professionals might leave you wondering what you can do on your own. With the right power tools, such as drills, sanders, jigsaws, etc., you can make repairs and updates on your own. You can bring out the sledgehammer and say goodbye to those hideous cabinets or install backsplash in the kitchen or bathroom. If you have a project in mind but don’t know where to start, find a how-to video online to determine if it is something you can take on by yourself.
A fixer-upper is a huge project, but if you can put in the time, money, and work, the end result makes it all worth it. If you decide to take the plunge, take your time finding the right one before you pull the trigger to make sure you are happy with the location, condition, and price tag (including the cost for renovations). Then, enjoy the process. There will be laughs, tears, and a mishap or two, but that’s all part of the fun.