What Type of Fixer-Upper Are You Buying?

Taking on a fixer-upper is a task that isn’t for everyone, but it can be worth it in the end if it is done right. If you are a handy person and are willing to put some sweat into the home, you can get a great return on the home. Not every fixer-upper is alike though, so finding the one that best fits your skills is crucial. The first step is always to decide which homes are goldmines, and which are endless money pits.

There are three types of fixer-uppers: a cosmetic fixer-upper, a plain ugly fixer, and a demolition. Knowing the difference between each will help you make the best decision on which one to undertake.  

Cosmetic Fixer-upper

This house needs a facelift and probably hasn’t had one for a while. The sellers may not have ever kept up with it, or didn’t want to spend the time and money to get it up-to-date. Commonly these upgrades include new paint, floors, lighting, landscaping, minor repairs, and maybe appliances. For a handy homeowner this wouldn’t be a nightmare. A couple trips to the home improvement store will get you on the right track.

A plain ugly one

This house is ugly, but you may not think it’s that bad. This ugly duckling has a bit more wrong with it, but it’s not a disaster. The home is in good shape, but it will require a bit more remodeling and wide-ranging repairs. If you are a person who sees their vision clearly and can execute like a boss, this is the house for you. Not to mention will you get a better deal, and will probably make that little bit extra when it comes time to sell. It will be worth it in the end if you do it right.

Common traits of ugly fixers are:

Small rooms and a choppy layout – Look for nonloadbearing walls to take out to open up rooms, giving a more open floor plan.

Dated bathrooms- These bathrooms have old plumbing, tiles, vanities, etc. Everything in it is old and would be greatly enhanced with new.

Bad smells- Smells come in a variety of odors from pets, to cigarettes, and something really really dark… New carpet and paint usually fix these. If it’s pee and it soaked into the subfloor you should replace that subfloor.

Dark interiors masked with ugly décor – ugly décor is a big turnoff for a lot of people, but it isn’t buyers stuff to begin with. Either the moving vans take it, or it gets thrown away. Try caulking the windows and new paint to lighten a room.

Dated kitchen – This is your most expensive remodel of the house, and on the other hand it will give you your biggest return.

Leaks in roof or stained ceilings – This can really send a buyer running for the hills because it’s typically costly to fix. Usually if it’s an old house you should just go ahead and get a whole new roof.

No curb appeal – the landscaping is long overgrown as if there’s a jungle surrounding the house. Grow a green thumb and get to work on the yard. The sides may have missing pieces, the paint could be chipping, and the mailbox could be broken. These are all easy fixes.

 A demolition

These gems have an endless amount of problems with it, which will be a continual, steady drain on your finances. Some problems are literally impossible to fix, so no matter how cheap you get it, always ask yourself if that is even worth it. If the house’s structural integrity is questionable at best, don’t even think about it. If there are environmental problems, or foundation issues, you do not want this house. Walk away from this and know you are actually saving yourself money and hassle, and that is an investment in itself. 

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