If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in a position where you think you can afford to own property, you then have to deal with making the biggest and most complicated purchase of your life. For some, adding to the complication of a major renovation seems like madness. But for others, fixer-upper homes are the most achievable way to get the house of their dreams. If you have been considering joining the fixer-upper club, here’s what you’ll need to think about.
The Buying Process
The first thing you need to do is determine your budget. In the case of a fixer-upper, this has to include both the price of the house and the renovation costs, but it is easier for you to think of them together for the time being. Good indicators to establish a budget include your annual income, money saved for a down payment, monthly spending, loan type, and current average APR. Don’t forget that there are plenty of hidden ongoing costs to owning a home, so you also need to take things like insurance, taxes, and maintenance into account.
The next step for most homeowners is to get to know their local market and see what kind of home they can buy in the area with said budget. Nolo.com suggests that the best way to know how much to offer on a fixer-upper is to figure out the value of the home if it was fixed, calculating the cost of the work, and then subtracting one from the other.
Once you find the fixer-upper of your dreams (and budget), there are a few additional steps you need to cover before making an offer. Get a full home inspection, which will highlight any repair work you may have missed during your visit, and re-adjust your offer accordingly. If a house you love has severe structural issues that would cost a fortune to repair, it may not be worth it.
As you look into financing your purchase, research the types of loans that will work best for your situation. For example, if you’re a veteran with so-so credit and not a lot socked away, you are eligible for a VA loan, which can help when it comes to finding decent interest rates, plus there won’t be any mortgage insurance. On the other hand, if the home needs serious work, you can look into an FHA 203(k) loan. These loans provide funding for the home and the necessary renovations, in addition for funding that covers the time you can’t live in the home.
When it comes to renovating your new home, planning is the most important thing you can do. It may be tempting to throw yourself headfirst into the first DIY project you can think of, but this is not the most efficient way to proceed.
Make a full list of everything that needs to be done, and sort tasks by priority. At the top, place anything that is necessary to make the house livable, such as electrical work, plumbing, or structural issues. Then address changes needed to make the house attractive. Finally, finishing decorative touches go last.
A full renovation schedule is important, but it is by no means the only thing you need to consider. Real Homes has a detailed checklist of things you need to do before you start renovating, covering everything from securing the building site to learning about your home’s architectural features. And if you haven’t already, invest some cash into some quality power tools such as drills or saws to make those DIY projects a little easier.
There is an accepted idea in society that your first house is a “starter home” and that you will eventually trade up to a bigger and better one. National statistics say the average first-time buyer stays in that house for 11 years before moving on to another home. However, there is also evidence that many first-time buyers, particularly young millennials, are skipping the starter home altogether. Instead, they are choosing to wait longer and put in more effort to buy a home that is right for them for the long haul.
Whether you choose to re-sell your fixer-upper will ultimately depend on two factors: firstly, whether you bought the house with the long-term in mind, and secondly, how much value you have added through your renovations. Do bear in mind, however, that experts recommend living in a home for a minimum of five years before selling.
Buying a fixer-upper for your first home doesn’t have to be a terrifying and intimidating prospect. As long as you are reasonable with your budget and expectations and do your homework, your fixer-upper can either end up being your dream home or a great first step on your way up the property ladder.
First-time home buyers bought more than two million homes in the United States in 2017. Many of those homes were not new, which means quite a few people found themselves in possession of a fixer-upper. These houses can be a dream or a nightmare. If you get the house for a good price, you can make a considerable profit by fixing it up and selling it.
Of course, this may depend on your area of the country; the average price for a fixer-upper in Boston, Massachusetts, for example, is $420,000, but the average will be much lower in less-populated and rural areas. And if renovations head south, you could end up pouring a lot more money and resources than you intended into a money pit. Here are a few suggestions to keep your experience on the positive side.
The Buying Process
As a first-time home buyer, get prepared before you even begin looking. Check your credit score, know what kind of down payment you can afford, and get pre-approved for a loan so you can make an offer without having to wait.
Looking beyond traditional real estate listings often yields results when you’re searching for a fixer-upper in your area. Check your local courthouse for foreclosure notices and attend auctions and estate sales. Because you’re willing to do some work on a house, you’re more likely to find a gem others will miss. The ideal fixer-upper is the worst house in the best neighborhood.
Before you buy, make sure you get a home inspection so you know exactly what you’re facing in terms of repair work. You want to make sure you’re not missing something major that will spell disaster once the house is yours.
Prepping for DIY
Determine what projects you need to hire out and what projects you can handle. For the jobs you’ll be doing, make sure you have the appropriate tools. A few common power tools include a drill, circular saw, jigsaw, oscillating multi-tool, and an orbital sander. These will get you through most projects. If you’re not sure which models or brands to buy -- or which tool to use for which job -- do some research or ask your contractor or an experienced friend for recommendations.
What Projects to Tackle First
Deciding what projects to start with will depend on if you are living in the home. If you’re living there, you will likely remodel one room at a time so you can live in the other areas. If you have other living arrangements, you can work on the entire home at the same time.
Major projects come first. Knocking down walls, tearing out old kitchens, ripping up flooring, and doing major plumbing and/or electrical work are large changes that should come before smaller cosmetic improvements such as paint.
If you are working with a contractor, make sure he communicates his remodeling plan to you. If you’re doing everything on your own, create a timeline before you pick up the first hammer.
Love It or List It?
As a popular show on HGTV asks, once you have completed the fixing up process, should you love it or list it (stay or sell)? If you are emotionally invested in the property due to the blood, sweat, and tears you poured into it, it makes sense to stay. If the entire process is just a business transaction to you, you’ll be more willing to sell. Either way, you should have your house reappraised once repairs are finished. If the home value has increased significantly, you may be in a good position to sell quickly (make sure you research capital gains tax first).
If you’re up for an adventure, buying a fixer-upper can be an exhilarating experience for first-time home buyers. Go into the process with your eyes open, and get lots of advice from people more experienced than you. Every fixer-upper process has moments when you’re not sure if things will work out, but the end result can be well worth your time, effort, and investment.
Photo from Unsplash
Guest contribution by Bret Engle.
With Valentine's Day just a heartbeat away, now is the time to think about those traditional themes of loved ones, property management, and real estate. Well ok, maybe these three topics aren't routinely considered all at the same time, but why shouldn't they be? After loved ones, real estate and homes are things in life that are pretty high up on everyone's priority list - so let's take a 'seasonal' look at how they might be related to each other.
Love yourself with real estate investment
A few ways that someone might pamper himself or herself to show a little self-love is to buy a new set of golf clubs, schedule a relaxing massage for those aching muscles, or perhaps go a bit further out on the limb and buy that alluring new new sports car. While all those are wonderful perks to contemplate, none of them - even the car - has the permanence or the deep inner satisfaction that an investment in real estate brings. And even better - the security and the value that real estate returns to you is very much like being loved back.
Love your spouse with your real estate investment
There might not be a better way in the world to express your love to a spouse than with a real estate investment. Sure, some people might object and suggest diamonds or other jewelry as the supreme expression of caring, but jewelry usually ends up stowed away in a box somewhere, only to be retrieved for special occasions. An investment in a home is something that surrounds your spouse every day with the warmth and depth of your feeling, and for any other kind of property, it still represents a long-lasting commitment to him or her that cannot fail to impress with its own unique permanence.
The steamy side of love and real estate
You could do the expected and arrange for a fancy date to celebrate Valentine's Day with your spouse or loved one, but you've probably done something like that already, if not many times before. This year, impress him or her with something completely different, and earn major kudos for originality.
Why not stay at home this time around and celebrate the day for lovers by discussing some of the red-hot topics of real estate and property management? Try nibbling on your lover's ear while whispering the latest market statistics on average prices and absorption rates. If that doesn't reduce him/her to quivering jello, a candlelit dinner with breathy exchanges on amortization schedules is sure to do the trick.
And if these two don't quite provide the spice you'd hoped for, you may have to bring out the heavy artillery. Slip in that video on urban sprawl and tax assessments while giving a slow, sensuous foot massage - it just might be the most memorable Valentine's Day you ever share with your loved one.
Gratitude is the first thing we like to decorate our homes with during the holiday season. The simple act of reviewing what we're thankful for is the fastest and easiest way to make your space brighter. Here is a list to get you started:
I am thankful for
-the roof over my head
-a place to eat
-a place to sleep
-a place to put my things
-a place to connect with family and friends
And what else?
What are the special features of your home that make it unique? What furnishings and appliances make your life easier? What decor makes you feel special and luxurious?
Take a walk through your home reviewing each and every thing that you're thankful for.
Are you finding that you're frustrated, and can't find anything good about your home?
That's where we come in! We've found that the best place to start if you're frustrated with your home is to list off what you WANT your home to FEEL like.
When you walk in and kick off your shoes, do you want to feel relaxed or energized? Warm or cool? When you wake up in the morning do you want to see the sun shining through, or do you want those extra hours of sleep in a darkened room?
Let's review your wishlist so we can get you into a home that fits! Whether you want to rent or buy, Clark Real Estate wants you to be thankful for your home--and we'll work hard to make it happen!
Clark Real Estate
305 W. Moana Ste C
Reno, NV 89509
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