Finding a Fixer-Upper Worth Fixing Up

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 18 February 2015 09:12

When it comes to buying and renovating a deteriorating or dated property, there are two kinds of home buyers in the world: those who have the wherewithal, and those who don’t. People are generally pretty good at determining which category they fall into. Do-it-yourselfers are usually highly motivated and have some experience tackling home maintenance and beautification challenges. And most of us are self-aware enough to realize that if we don’t have the skill or drive it takes to charge in and transform a “home with potential” into the showplace it deserves to be. 

For the seasoned DIY-er, the big question really comes down to determining whether a property is worth the investment. Will there be a good return on your venture once the house is spruced up and fulfilling its unrealized potential?

Here are a few tips for identifying a property worth fixing up:

1)    Invest sensibly. Unless you have some serious experience in construction, you should look for a home that is essentially structurally sound – there’s a big difference between removing a dividing wall between rooms and shoring up a damaged foundation or a sagging roof. The floor plan should make sense and cosmetic improvements should give the home the real boost it needs. An inspection can turn up potentially drastic plumbing, electrical, or structural issues. 

2)    Do your research.If you’re looking to reface a home to achieve a higher resale value, it’s also important to know about the neighborhood. A real estate agent can provide you with comps (comparable recent sales in the area) in order to determine what type of resale value you might expect once you’ve spruced up the place. Your agent can also tell you whether sales in the surrounding area have been sluggish or robust.

3)    Enlist help. It’s a good idea to consider partnering with a contractor. If a home is in particularly bad shape or does have structural issues, there might be aspects of it that you are unable to rehab yourself. A contractor can give you estimates for making any larger-scale changes. Factor this number into the equation when you are looking at home price and deciding whether to buy. 

4)    Create a budget. Determine what you are willing to spend to effect change in a dilapidated or dated home. A thorough examination of a home’s problems will allow you to decide whether you think that its shortcomings are largely cosmetic or whether more radical changes will be necessary. Are you prepared to pay to overhaul the plumbing, replace a furnace, or install new windows? Or are you hopeful that fresh paint, refaced cabinets, and some kitchen and bathroom updates will result in the upgrade you are looking for?

Whether you’re rehabbing a home with new fixtures and appliances, modern upgrades, and your own personal sense of flair or style or you’re willing to completely renovate a deteriorating property with new systems and even structural modifications, it can be vastly rewarding to recreate a home from the bottom up. Just make sure that you know what you’re getting into and that an agent can help you understand the vagaries of the real estate market so that you make a wise investment.

Good luck! 

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Lillian Montalto

In May of 2000, Lillian established Lillian Montalto Signature Properties.

Lillian has been the #1 Agent in New England for the past 19 years. Lillian is the founder, broker and principal of Lillian Montalto Signature Properties at 34 Park Street, Andover MA.

Lillian has closed over $1.5 Billion dollars worth of real estate in her career. She also personally coaches several of America’s top real estate agents. Lillian has also been recognized by the National Association of Realtors as America’s #1 Female Real Estate Agent. She is active in several community activities including the Andover Montessori School, North East Builders Association. YWCA, YMCA, and North Andover Lions Club. Lillian is only one of 67 real estate associates nationwide to have achieved 8 educational designations. Her firm also is a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, the #1 relocation company internationally.

Lillian has been a Brinton Super Star, a member of Bill Barrett's Top 50 and has been a keynote Speaker at NAR, the National Association of Realtors annual conference, and numerous Real Estate and Business seminars around the world, including Bali, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. She and her husband Bob, were recently recognized by Art and Antiques Magazine as being one of America’s Top 200 Art Collectors in 2 different categories; Primitive Art and Decorative Arts. Their home was recently featured in Boston Magazine, Art and Antiques, and the North Shore magazine. Their collections have been featured in Art and Antiques, Veranda, Shelter and various Wood Art Magazines.

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