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Buying a Fixer Upper: How to Find, Afford and Improve a Fixer-Upper Home

If you are searching for your dream home and wondering if it’s worth buying a fixer-upper and making it your own, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about buying a fixer-upper, including how to find one, what to look for, and how to afford it. As an expert real estate agent with Joe Leffew Properties, we can help you navigate the process of buying and renovating a fixer-upper home.

Picture of an overgrown and rundown house in disrepair, perfect for a fixer-upper home project.

Transforming a Fixer-Upper: Don’t Let Overgrown Homes in Disrepair Scare You Off!

What is a Fixer-Upper Home?

A fixer-upper is a home that needs repairs, but not so many that it’s uninhabitable or worthy of being torn down. Fixer-uppers are usually offered for a lower price than homes in better condition, which makes them appealing to buyers looking to maximize their purchasing power or investors looking to flip the property and turn a profit.

Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper Home?

Most often, people buy fixer-upper homes because the cost of purchasing the home plus renovation costs may total less than what they’d pay for a comparable home in good condition. Here are some of the key reasons buyers decide on buying a fixer-upper:

Reduced price
Customizable improvements
Older home charm
Make a profit
Tax incentives

How to Find Fixer-Upper Homes

Finding the right fixer-upper is all about where you look. Here are a few strategies for finding the right home:

Use Zillow, or numerous other online sites to search for fixer-upper homes for sale
Search online: Use online sites to search for homes below market value. You can search keywords such as “fixer upper,” “needs work” or “TLC” to narrow down potential properties.
Work with an agent: A local buyer’s agent should be able to help you find fixer-upper homes in your desired neighborhoods. Well-connected agents may even be able to show you homes that haven’t hit the market yet, via word of mouth.
Search auctions, foreclosures, and short sales: Distressed properties may be in fine structural condition but are sold below market value in order to offload them quickly.

What to Look for When Buying a Fixer-Upper Home

When shopping for a fixer-upper, prioritize the things you can’t change about a home (like its location), or things that would be too costly to change (like significant structural renovations). Here are key factors to consider:

Layout and size
Home condition

How to Buy a Fixer-Upper

Buying a home that needs work can be risky because you won’t know the full condition of the home until you start tearing down walls. That’s why doing your due diligence on the property and neighborhood ahead of time is key. Here are a few steps to follow:

Get a professional home inspection
Hire an architect and general contractor
Budget for improvements
Know your limits

Financing Options with Fixer-Upper Loans

You can purchase a fixer-upper with a traditional conventional loan then pay for all the improvements out of pocket. Or, you can get a fixer-upper mortgage that’s designed to help you finance both the house itself and the renovations. Common types of home loans for fixer-uppers are:

Calculator, money, and notepad on a wooden table for home renovation budgeting

Keep track of your expenses with these budgeting tools for your fixer-upper home renovation project

FHA 203(k) standard
FHA 203(k) streamlined
HomeStyle loan
As expert real estate agents with Joe Leffew Properties, we can help

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