Buying your first home is a very exciting endevor. Among the many decisions you'll have to make is whether you will buy a house that's move in ready or one that needs a little work. Many people opt for fixer-uppers because of the lower cost but they can end up costing you more in the long run. Here are some things to consider when making the choice.
What can you get in your price range?
Many first-time buyers are on tight budgets. They want to live in a good area but not spend to much. On the whole, location should be more important than the house because the house can be changed. If you can't get a good area without getting a fixer-upper it's definitely something to consider. Make sure you're buying in a location you like and want to stay in for a while so you can find the best deal and turn your home into a solid investment. Look at both fixer-uppers and finished before you make your choice.
How handy are you, really?
There's a vast difference between painting a wall and fixing a leak. When you're deciding whether to buy a fixer upper make sure you're honest about your skill level. Don't get in over your head and buy something you can't really fix or afford. By getting a thorough home inspetion you'll have a clearer idea of the necessary improvements. This will help you make the right decision for your ability.
How much do you have to spend on repairs?
Repair budgets rarely get adjusted downward. Usually it costs more than you expect to fix a home. Even if you have plenty of savings its still wise to get repair estimates before committing to buying. That way you'll have realistic numbers to decide with. Remember, surprise expenses can pop up but there won't be as many nasty surprises if you get that a realistic estimate.
Do you have help?
If your uncle is a contractor and your cousin is in the design business, your odds of doing well with a fixer-upper just improved. When you know people in skilled trades that are willing to help you can save a lot of money in labor and protect your investment more easily. It's not a requirement but it can certainly help!
How long do you plan to live there?
Renovations take time. If you're not planning on staying for an extended period of time you probably won't want to buy something that requires massive amounts of work.
How is the market where you're looking?
If it's a buyer's market in your ocation you will probably be able to get a great home for a lower price. With that in mind, you could get intoa home that needs less work and still not have to break your budget. You don't want to get halfway through renovations and decide you want to move. It can be quite difficult to sell a home that's in the middle of renovations and you can lose a lot of money in the process. Don't buy a fixer-upper unless you're ready to commit.
Are the home's issues cosmetic or something more?
Cosmetic issues are things that can be lives with even if you're not crazy about them. If you have structural issues though you can't just live with them. They have to be fixed. Finding out which the home has and the costs associated with them is essential.
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