That dilapidated house may be a diamond in the rough… or a disaster. Here are some pointers.
If you’re going to live there, find out what work needs to be done to get it to a level that will make you happy. And find out what that’s going to cost.
If it’s an investment, you also need to know what you might sell your polished diamond for.
A good fixer-upper should be well-priced… that is, less than comparable houses in good repair in the neighborhood. To begin to figure out your offer, start by determining the average cost and the top price in the neighborhood.
Then, figure out what the work will cost. Use a professional who knows the area and current material costs. And make sure you’re aware of building code and zoning restrictions before you start planning that second story or addition.
Make sure you know which improvements will add value. Additions, new finished spaces, redecorated kitchens and bathrooms, cosmetic touches, decks, and landscaping are some of the popular ones. On the other hand, some of the most expensive things won’t add value; people expect things like wiring and plumbing and the roof to be in good repair.
With this information, you have the knowledge — and the backup — to make a realistic offer.
Remember not to let emotions get in the way. If you’re planning on living in your home, you want to be charmed by it, but keep your practical side awake, too.
And always be on the lookout for ways to improve while you’re repairing. If you need to repair a roof, add a dormer for more light. If you’re fixing a foundation, improve the basement.