Is Buying a Fixer Upper For You?

There are several factors that make a fixer upper home appealing to many people. First off, the price is usually lower than other homes in the neighborhood. You may be able to get a larger home in the area you want for less money. Second, a fixer allows you to put your “own stamp” on the home and really make it your style. You get to pick the colors and designs that fit you and your family. And, third, a fixer upper is often an older home. There are beautiful features in older homes that you can’t find anywhere else. 

But is a fixer upper for you? Let’s consider some issues with this scenario.

1. Financing. Depending on how much work the home needs you will need a conventional loan or a renovation loan. A conventional loan will go through if the home is sound, but needs a lot of cosmetics and some repairs. If the home is in poor condition, then a renovation loan may be the only financing option. Keep in mind though that only licensed contractors can do the work. Government loans, such as FHA loans, rarely work on fixers. If you are purchasing the home outright with cash, or with a large amount down, you may be able to get a home equity loan for the work.

2. Cost of Renovation. You will need to have enough extra cash to complete your renovations. Work with a licensed contractor to get quotes on repairs. Take measurements to get pricing on flooring, new countertops, etc. (Or hire a general contractor to handle the entire project.) Always budget an extra 20% over what you estimate for the unexpected. Better to have money left over than to run out of money to finish. The costs to renovate a home are often the biggest hurdle buyers face because they are using a chunk of their cash for closing costs on the purchase with little left over.

3. Where will you live? While renovations are going on, will you be able to live in the home? If you are renovating things like the kitchen and bathroom, this can make it very difficult to live there during the work. Many people have to sell their current home in order to purchase their new home, but moving into a fixer is not ideal. To give yourself a month or two of time to work on the home, consider some creative solutions such as using a bridge loan or asking for a rent back from the buyer. Worst case scenario, put your things into storage and rent an Airbnb for a month or two. 

4. Hassle. Renovations are always more than you expect – more money, more time, more problems, more hassle. There are always unexpected issues that show up once you start removing old walls, old wires, etc. There can be delays in materials or wrong materials being sent. Obtaining permits and getting inspections can take time. Weather can cause delays. The end result may be worth it, but prepare for a bumpy ride. 

Despite the work and challenges involved in a fixer upper, this type of home may be for you. If you’re looking for that historic home on a great lot in the perfect location, being willing to take on a fixer upper may just get you the home you dream of.


Pricing Your Home to Sell 

What is the big deal about pricing your home right to sell? As a home seller, you may be thinking, “Wow, this market is great. There are so many buyers looking for homes they’ll pay anything! I’ll just mark my price up and see what offer I get.”

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking backfires. Even though buyers are looking for homes, they are pretty savvy and know what homes are selling for. Also, their real estate agent will be checking comparable homes to see what your home should be listed for and how your home compares to other homes on the market.

8 Must Haves for Your “Final Home” Purchase

In all cases, this “final home” purchase feels heavy. There’s a lot of pressure to find the perfect home. Here are some considerations to keep in mind if you are preparing to find your forever home.

11 Summer Fun Activities Within An Easy Drive of Lancaster County

One thing that is so great about living in Lancaster County is that you are a short drive to fun attractions in neighboring counties! There are so many places to visit you could fill up every weekend trying something new. Some of these are my favorites, while others are on my bucket list. I would love to know your favorites!

Is A Multi-Generational Home Right for You?

Multi-generational living is on the rise. It’s not unusual for grandparents, parents, and children to live under the same roof. But is multi-generational living right for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of living in the same home with several generations of one family.

The 2024 Housing Market is Heating Up | Lancaster County, PA

This year’s housing market is off to a great start! Are you a home buyer or a home seller? Are you curious to know the latest 2024 spring housing market stats? Let’s take a look at what’s happening with the housing market both locally in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area and nationally. We’ll take a look at home sales, housing inventory, home prices, and other key points.