Updated: 12/11/2017 3:53 PM | Print Story |  Email

Fixer-Upper Advice with Desrochers Realty Group

Sometimes buying a "fixer-upper" is a better option than looking for a dream home that you just can't find. Julie and Daniel Desrochers from Desrochers Realty Group and Coldwell Banker Burnet share their advice on how to get the most bang for your buck. 
 
Julie and Daniel's thoughts are below: 
 
The most common remodels we see:
  • Opening up kitchens to dining and living rooms
  • Adding master baths and walk-in closets 
  • Adding or expanding garages
  • Adding mudrooms
It can be as simple as updating kitchens and baths but leaving the layouts the same to as complicated as changing the whole layout of a home and adding additions. Ideally you want to find the ugliest house on the street and fix it up! The great thing about fixing up an old house is that a lot of those homes had a ton of character that is very expensive to re-create in a new home.
 
If you can endure the process and see the vision, you can get the exact home you want in that great neighborhood!
 
Work with a realtor who understands the market and renovations, including costs and values of the home before and after. Also your realtor should be able to see the potential in a home and point it out.  They need to be able to asses a house knowing what can and cant be done to remodel it and a rough idea of what the costs are going to be etc. Make sure they have good resources for all the different vendors and contractors you will need through the process
 
Come up with a price range that works to look in, accounting for what you will need to do to the house. For example, if your max budget is $450,000 and you figure you will be putting anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 into a house, $250,000 to $350,000 should be the price range you look in. 
 
Keep in mind that usually remodel projects always come in over budget so make sure you have accounted for that and have added some wiggle room. Also know how you are going to finance. Will you be purchasing with cash, financing just the purchase of the house and paying cash for the repairs? Or do you need to get a renovation loan where you are financing both the purchase of the house and the repairs?
 
 
The inspection period is very important. Make sure you have negotiated a long enough inspection time to do most of your due diligence. Make sure you have a good home inspector thoroughly inspect the house. Even if you are remodeling a large potion of the home there are still things that can come up in a home inspection that you did not account for, like structural issues, chimney deterioration, lack of enough insulation, etc. 
 
If the property is older make sure you also have the sewer line scoped and the chimney scoped if there is one. 
 
During this time you can also have contractors come in to give you bids on the work you want to do. Even though you have a rough estimate of what a remodel may cost the inspection time frame allows you to get more concrete numbers for the work so you can make sure the purchase still makes sense. If surprises or other issues come up during this timeframe you can go back to the sellers and re-negotiate.