Deciding whether to purchase a fixer-upper or go with a home in need of fewer repairs isn’t always simple.
The following information can help you calculate the true cost of purchasing a fixer:
Supplies, Labor and Time: Whether you do the job yourself or hire outside labor, repairs and renovations are notorious for costing more than you planned. If the home can’t be lived in while repairs are made, the additional cost of covering the mortgage, taxes and insurance while the home is vacant can also substantially add to the total cost.
Taxes and Insurance: Improvements often add to the cost of property taxes and insurance, so be sure to consider the long-term consequences. Properly performed repairs and renovations may help or hurt property tax values and homeowner insurance costs. It’s a good idea to get an estimate in advance. On the other hand, hiring outside crews to perform needed repairs can result in a tax write-off for investment properties.
Long-Term Profit Potential: Repairs and renovations can make your home more valuable, but only if the surrounding area is desirable. Whether investing for long-term appreciation or cash flow, carefully evaluate the desirability of the neighbourhood.
Financing: Lenders often have different rates and requirements for properties in need of repair. Find out in advance if you are eligible for special funding, grants or tax incentives, especially when working with affordable housing options or first-time homebuyer programs.
Building Codes and Zoning: It is imperative to understand local building codes and zoning regulations before purchasing a fixer-upper. Never assume you can modify a structure without considering the building code. Likewise, zoning may dramatically alter the ability to use a property in a specific manner or make certain changes or additions. It’s just one more reason it’s more important than ever to work closely with your agent when purchasing a fixer-upper.