Is a fixer-upper for you?

Courtney on

Little yellow houseFor many people, a dream home is just that – a dream. But for those blessed with the lucky trifecta of creativity, patience and an open mind, that dream can manifest into something tangible. Sitting through an HGTV marathon won't be enough to prep you for the task. That's why the Moveline team is here to share the major factors to consider when determining whether or not you're equipped for the long and winding, certainly scenic but oftentimes-bumpy road we call "home renovation."

First, we should note the positives. Purchasing a fixer-upper is a great way to get a value, and the best way to get what exactly what you want, where you want it. There is sweet satisfaction to be found in bringing an older home back to life. Better yet, an older home in your ideal neighborhood. Rehabbing a house only increases its resale value, but if you aren't smart about your investment from the get-go you may just find yourself drowning in a money-pit flooded with regret.

Because we don't want that to happen, here's the reality check you've been looking for:

1) The first step to take before you make your purchase is to size up the project. Chances are that if your "new" home has been ignored cosmetically over the years, it's likely been ignored structurally as well. Hire the most reputable home inspector you can find to give you the good, the bad and the ugly and then research how much the most crucial renovations will cost you. Certain projects like roofing, electrical or furnace issues can't wait, and may be covered by the home's current owner unless it's listed "As Is". You should expect the seller to take care of some, but not all of your requests. Be reasonable, but know it never hurts to ask.

2) If you're looking at a major overhaul or want to add on to the home, budget should drive the entire project. Work with a dedicated team that understands your vision, your needs and your parameters. If their estimate comes in below your intended total, it's probably doable, but keep in mind that homeowners almost always go over their renovation budget. We recommend rounding everything up and leaving lots of wiggle room for unforeseen costs.

3) Are you the handy type? Getting your hands dirty will cut down on labor costs, so help out whenever and wherever you can. Whether or not you plan to roll up your sleeves and take on some of the labor yourself, you should expect to devote time and effort to supervising the contractors working on your home.

4) Be realistic about whether or not you can live comfortably in the home mid-renovation, which likely means putting up with noise, dust and limited privacy throughout the duration of the project. Even the most mildly disruptive living situation may not be safe for your kids, pets, or relationship, so you should be prepared to deal with the added stress of managing the renovation on top of your day-to-day. If you can't make it work, consider renting short-term until the renovation is completed or further along.

You'll probably never describe your journey from fixer-upper to Home Sweet Home as "easy", but if you stay on course you can delight in opening the door to the home of your dreams every day. And we believe that's worth every ounce of blood, sweat and beer it took to get you there.

Whether you're fixing up a home "with potential" or buying something that's already perfect, Moveline has you covered for everything that comes before, during and after a move. Follow us for tips on what to expect on moving day and more, and don't forget to let us help you personally, too. The best part? Our services are free.