Tips For Finding A Fixer Upper

Posted on: 21 October 2016

Shopping for a fixer upper can be an excellent way to purchase more house than you could otherwise afford. Unfortunately, not all fixer uppers are created equally so it is important to know what to look for as you shop. Otherwise, you may end up investing in a money pit instead of a hidden dream home. The following tips can help.

Tip #1: Check the structural integrity

Everyone has heard the advice to look for a house with good bones, but what does this mean exactly? It means that house has structural integrity. There are four things to check to ensure the house is structurally sound:

  • The foundation. It should have no cracks, damage, or major level issues from settling.

  • Drainage. Water should drain properly away from the foundation and there shouldn't be flooding issues in the basement.

  • The frame. Make sure there is no mold or major damage with the main support structures of the walls and roof.

  • The roof. While the roof itself may be damaged, the underlying joists should be in good condition with no rot or other damage.

Tip #2: List the issues

A fixer upper is going to have issues; your goal is to choose one that has issues in which you have the time, knowledge, and funds to repair. As you walk through the house, carry a clipboard and make notes on every single problem you uncover. For example, will the carpet and walls need to be replaced? Is there water damage that necessitates new bathroom cabinets? Will you need to do major structural changes, such as removing a wall or replacing a window? Once you know the issues, you can check estimated repair costs. Use these costs to help bargain down the price of the home.

Tip #3: Know major warning signs

There are a few warning signs that typically mean that a fixer upper isn't worth the trouble unless you can purchase it for an exceptional price and you can afford the work. These signs include the following:

  • Major water damage

  • Outdated plumbing that needs to be replaced throughout the entire home

  • Mold that has spread beyond a few small areas

  • Uneven settling that has led to slanted rooms, extensive plaster cracks, or other major damage

  • Pet urine damage that has soaked into the floor joists, subfloor, or wall studs – the odor can be nearly impossible to remove

For more help in finding the perfect fixer upper, check out the homes for sale in your area.