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Is a Fixer-Upper the Right Choice for You?

For many people, the idea of buying a fixer-upper home can be an appealing one. They may like the challenge of taking something a little old and run-down, then turning it into something fresh and beautiful with a little TLC. Maybe they're handy around the house and would like to put their DIY skills to good use. And the price of a fixer-upper can definitely be attractive, even knowing that some money will have to be put into renovations. But unless you're an experienced renovator with a reasonable idea of the time, effort and money it will take to turn an older home into something livable, buying a fixer-upper can be a risk. There are some important questions that any home buyer, especially first-time buyers, should ask before making an offer on a fixer-upper.

Is the house structurally sound?

Before making the decision to buy, potential homeowners should always have a qualified home inspector go through an older home from top to bottom. If you’re hoping to buy soon and move in right away, most San Antonio movers will be able to recommend an experienced home inspector. It goes without saying that considerable structural damage can easily turn a fixer-upper with a great asking price into a money pit nightmare. Structural damage is something that should be left to professionals to fix, since it's a serious safety hazard. If a home's roof, walls or foundation have serious issues, it would probably be better to pass.

How much experience do you have with DIY projects, and how much time are you willing to put in?

If you're good at refinishing walls and floors, installing cabinetry and appliances, and even doing some plumbing work, it can be rewarding to work on a fixer-upper –  especially if you gain satisfaction from spending time on a project. Are you willing to commit a few hours during the week and a significant portion of your weekends to renovation work? And what about more specialized work, such as wiring? Unless you have experience and know how to safely re-wire a home, electrical jobs in an older home are best left to professionals.

How much money do you have to invest in renovations?

Fixer-uppers with light to moderate damage or cosmetic needs are ideal for beginning home renovators, especially if they're willing to live in the home for a while and work on their projects gradually. This can make a home purchase very affordable. But many renovations come with extra costs, when the home ends up needing professional work or more work than initially expected. Again, having an inspector thoroughly outline every repair need is essential. Home renovations can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and buyers need to figure out up front if they can afford to hire out professionals, or whether they truly can do the repair work themselves.

Are you planning to live in the home, or fix it up and resell?

For those with DIY experience, funds set aside for professional work, and the desire to spend a significant amount of time on projects, a fixer-upper can slowly be transformed into a dream home that the family can enjoy for a lifetime. Before getting in touch with your San Antonio movers to help you move into your new house, you will need to be absolutely sure that the home you’re considering has repair work that you can handle. If your goal is to resell for a profit, it’s best to choose a home with light to moderate cosmetic needs and no major repair issues. Resurfacing walls, replacing floors and carpets, and installing new appliances to update the look of an older home are ideal jobs for the experienced home flipper.

With some knowledge on basic home projects as well as the expectation that buying a fixer-upper is going to take time and money, an older home can be a good choice.