Monday, 19 March 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

The "Fixer Upper" Reality

Written by Posted On Friday, 02 March 2018 15:52

Many Americans are enchanted by the idea buying of a fixer upper - a home that they can truly make their own both inside and out by remodeling. This fact is reflected in the numerous shows specifically geared towards house hunting and remodeling, like “Design on a Dime”, “Flip or Flop”, “Fixer Upper” and “Property Brothers’. But there are risks associated with purchasing a fixer upper - both financial and legal.

The “Fixer Upper” Reality

The truth is that every home, unless brand new, needs work. The question is, what kind of work does it need? Home buyers need to not only consider the potential cost of repairing a home but also the kinds of work that they are willing to do themselves. Typically, repairs fall into two categories:

Major Renovations

Repairs that may fall under the major renovations category include:

Putting on a new roof

  • Replacing the HVAC system

  • Replacing windows and doors

  • Kitchen remodels

  • Building additions

  • Fixing foundations

  • Having to install new plumbing

Minor Renovations

Small or minor repairs might include:

  • Installing new flooring

  • Refinishing floors

  • Painting

  • Installing new light fixtures

  • The cost of repairs can quickly make an affordable house a financial strain. In addition to this, property hazards can result in accidents, causing new homeowners legal headaches as well. 

Premises Liability Laws

Under the law, property owners are responsible for doing everything that is reasonably within their power to find and fix any hazards which may result in injury to others visiting the property. What is considered reasonable will change from property to property since no two locations are exactly the same.

For example, if a home has wooden stairs leading to a deck on the back of a house, and those stairs are rotting, the homeowner is responsible for replacing the rotten steps so that someone using them doesn’t get hurt by a step collapsing. If the repair cannot be made in a timely manner, warning must be placed around the steps so that visitors are made aware of the issue.

The most common property hazards which result in injury include:

Broken Steps & Handrails

As shown in the example above, broken steps can result in a collapse, sending the unfortunate person through the stairs to the floor below or causing them to tumble down the stairs.

Loose Flooring

Carpet that isn’t properly secured and loose floorboards can result in a slip and fall accident.

Broken Sidewalks

Over time land shifts and settles, causing cement to crack and break. It’s easy to catch your foot on a crack or to take a spill because of uneven pavement.

Wet & Icy Spots

Wet and icy spots can be caused by leaks but can also be the result of natural weather. While the law understands that weather cannot be controlled, there are strict timelines on when snow and ice should be cleared.

Unsecured Wires & Cords

Power cords left out during renovations and even normal everyday cords are very easy to trip over and should be put away or secured.

Slip and falls are one of the most common accidents that occur on any property and victims frequently choose to work with a slip and fall attorney after being injured - meaning the new homeowner may find that they have been named the defendant in a premises liability lawsuit and put under pressure to show that they did everything they should have done to prevent the accident from taking place.

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James Stevenson

Hi, My name is James and I've been involved in the property and real estate industry for 10 years now. I hope people will like to read about my thoughts and experiences in the industry and please contact me if you want to discuss my articles further!

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