Posted 27 Sep 17

PURCHASING A FIXER-UPPER

Transforming a tired and worn house into a beautiful home has its appeal, especially if you’re looking for a way to buy into your ideal suburb or enter the property market. Whether you’re buying somewhere to live or buying to sell, there are a lot of things to consider when looking for the right property to invest time and money in.  
Many potential buyers are quickly turned off by the cosmetics of the house, but carpet, wall colour and light fittings are easy fixes. You need to look past these and focus on the structural bones of the house, meaning the plumbing, the electrical, the foundations, roof and walls. These are costly to fix and can quickly overwhelm your budget. Get a detailed building inspection and walk through the house with a professional who will talk you through what work needs to be done and what it’s likely to cost. Then it’s time to crunch the numbers. Don’t forget to leave room in your budget for the unexpected.  
If your goal is buy to sell, speak to local real estate agents who have a good understanding of what buyers are looking for in the area and visit other homes in the neighbourhood that are selling, before making any significant changes to the property. Determine what buyers are looking for and cater to them. There is no point spending money on things such as custom finishes when buyers aren’t willing to pay for them. Only make changes that will result in financial gain. 
Depending on the scope of your project, your renovations could take months, even years to complete. If you plan to do much of the renovation yourself, be realistic about your skill level and the time it will take to finish the project. If you intend to live in the house consider the affect that construction-site mess will have on your day-to-day living, especially if you have a young family. 
Fixing up a home to your own specifications is a lot of fun, but take your time finding the right house. There can be plenty of unknowns and you are likely to be thrown a curveball or two. Be prepared to roll with the punches and make sure you leave some wiggle room in your budget for surprises.
Words by Margaret Quilter
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