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What You Need to Know Before Taking on a Fixer Upper

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Fixer upper homes can be frightening, but with the right preparation and knowledge, your soon-to-be revamped crib could be worthy of its own HGTV show.

Here’s what to know ahead of time before you commit to that seemingly charming, but run-down 1920s bungalow:

  1. Know your budget and its’ boundaries. Be realistic! Don’t let it suck the life or all your money out of you.
  2. Before buying, note how long its been on the market. See if an additional discount is warranted. Ask questions as to why it’s been on the market so long. Is it a foreclosure?
  3. Decide just how big of a project it will be. How long will it take? Where will I live in the meantime? If it takes longer, how much more will it cost me? Try to figure out a timeline for your renovation.
  4. Hire an inspector (or a few) with a good reputation to assess the project.
  5. Know the monetary difference between cosmetic and structural repairs.
  6. Make sure you have a good understanding of the shape the house is in. Look at what needs to be done to roofing, sewage, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and the foundation. If the house is extremely run down, check for asbestos and mold.
  7. Be mentally and monetarily prepared for unforeseen issues. With a fixer upper, you never know what will pop up. It’s important to be aware of the likelihood that unexpected problems may occur.
  8. Research loans. Especially if it’s a major renovation. Look into taking out a second mortgage. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you have all your ducks in a row and can complete the renovation without any issues.
  9. Make a spreadsheet of what all needs to be done and the costs. This will keep you organized throughout the entire process. Renovating a fixer upper can be chaotic and this will help to minimize unnecessary stress.

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