ClickCease Skip to content

What Is Considered a ‘Fixer-Upper’?

What Is Considered a 'Fixer-Upper'?


What’s considered a fixer-upper? It can depend, but typically, a fixer-upper is a property that requires modifications before it can be comfortably occupied. It’s possible to live in a fixer-upper without fixing it; however, you could be living with a leaky roof, uneven floors, or even an unreliable bathroom. You don’t want to deal with issues the moment you move into a home, so if you buy a fixer-upper, fix it!


Not all fixer-uppers are created equal. When it comes to fixer-uppers, remember that sometimes repairs may cost a few hundred, but they can cost a few thousand. If you’re not prepared for thousands in repairs, make sure that you’re careful when choosing your fixer-upper. Some need a paint job and a new door, others need foundation repair and stump removal. If you’re brave enough to tackle the upgrades that your home needs by yourself, make sure that you’ve got a firm sense of how things work, how long adhesives need to dry, and how to properly measure. As craftsy as you may be, hiring a contractor is always the best idea. Contractors can take the responsibility of the work and any mistakes that might be made. If human mistakes are made, your contractor will be able to fix the mistake faster and more effectively.


Turnkey or fixer-upper, taking your time to decide is essential. If you’re considering a fixer-upper, work closely with an experienced, local real estate agent to ensure that you’re getting the most for your money. An experienced real estate agent will be able to find the best fixer-uppers for your budget, and connect you to other professionals that can make your dream fixer-upper a reality. Some fixer-uppers are foreclosures, and foreclosures might have a load of unresolved issues that would scare some buyers away. Even then, you will have options. If you can’t connect with an appraiser or inspector, just reach out to your real estate agent, and they’ll help you find the people who will tell you what you need to know.


Why Buy a Fixer-Upper?


a fixer-upperBuying a fixer-upper isn’t for everyone. If the home needs extensive repairs, this can take more time than many people have to finally move in to their new home. Even smaller repairs can present a burden to anyone who doesn’t want to have to make a huge investment in something that needs to be fixed. Bottom line: if you want a turnkey, you don’t want a fixer-upper. If you’re looking to make your home your own, a fixer-upper could present a relatively inexpensive path to your dream home.


The popularity of shows like Love It or List It and Property Brothers have raised awareness of the popularity of flipping properties, which is one of the many reasons that some people will buy fixer-uppers. When buying a fixer-upper with the hopes of flipping the property, make sure that you’re paying attention to the market. You’ll have to invest more and create more unique offerings on the property in slow markets, though active markets will probably get you a sale a faster. In competitive markets where homes are only able to stay on the market for a couple of days at a time before offers start coming in, it’s possible that flipping a fixer-upper will yield greater profit. One city’s housing crunch could be your ticket to a great profit. When homes are scarce, a decent, recently-renovated home is a gem.


The other reason people may buy a fixer-upper is for their own personal satisfaction of finishing the project. Some people are fulfilled when their craftsy hands are put to the test, and if you’re one of those people, make sure, as stated above, that you have your proper permits, and know what you’re doing. People who choose a fixer-upper may have found an alternative path to their dream home.


Is It Expensive?


The simple answer to this question is: it can be. Before you purchase a fixer-upper, make sure that you ask your appraiser and home inspector both how much they think that repairs should cost. This will also affect how much you should offer for the home. If, for example, you’re considering a $250,000 home, and the home needs $75,000 of repairs, offering $175,000 for the property is reasonable. This amount will go up in markets like San Francisco and New York, but most of the cities in the country will offer distressed properties for less. If the home needs extensive repairs, bear in mind that these repairs will not only take longer, but they will also be more expensive.


How could this be worth it? If the home is located in an otherwise-exclusive neighborhood, this could be your chance to get a great deal.  Even considering the cost of repairs, if you find a fixer-upper in a neighborhood you’d like to join, taking it could be the start of your dream.


Is a Fixer-Upper Right for You?


If you’re patient, but ready to act, choosing a fixer-upper could be the best way for you to get the home you want, at a price that you can more easily afford. Never rush into purchasing a fixer-upper, though. If you don’t take into consideration that you may have a little while before you can move in, you’ll lose patience, and start stressing, which is never good.


When you’re thinking about your fixer-upper, make sure that you also consider the layout. If this home isn’t conducive to the needs of your family, or if you work from home, but have no space, it won’t be the right property for you, and that’s fine. Any market is going to have a variety of fixer-uppers from which to choose, and you’re not alone in wondering which is right for your family, and your individual needs. If your fixer-upper is nowhere close to your job, or the grocery stores that you frequent, it might not be the best option for you. If a fixer-upper is for you, your local real estate agent is waiting for your call.