Buying a fixer-upper

March 17, 2021
buying a fixer-upper can be a worthwhile investment

Guest blogger Libby Foot looks at buying a fixer-upper in the second of her articles on buying a home. You may also be interested in her beginners’ guide to first-time buying.

While some buyers choose to purchase their perfect property from the start, the idea of buying a fixer-upper can appeal to many. Purchasing a house that is less-than-desirable can be a worthwhile investment. By putting in some hard work, you can create your own dream home or resell to earn a profit.

However, there are many things that you should think about before purchasing a fixer-upper. It can be a huge commitment and financial risk. The process can involve everything from simple superficial fixes to huge structural changes.

This article will cover what to look for when viewing a potential property and an overview of the common problems you may face. It will also discuss some of the factors you might need to consider if you are planning to resell the property instead of living in it yourself.

Jump to

What to look for when buying a fixer-upper
Renovation problems to consider
Staying on top of your renovation budget
Reselling your fixer-upper


What to look for when buying a fixer-upper

buying a fixer-upper can be a good investment when buying to resell
You may not have much time in a viewing to notice every detail, so narrowing your focus is key. Work out in advance what your ‘deal breakers’ are so that you don’t have to make spur-of-the-moment decisions. Decide how much of a long-term project you are looking for – are you willing to make structural changes that will involve months of building work? Or are you looking to simply replace some dated furnishings and make cosmetic improvements? By compiling a list ahead of time, you’ll be able to make the most of your viewing.

Cost-wise, most cosmetic issues are less expensive to remedy compared to structural ones. Some prospective buyers can be put off by old carpets, aged wallpapers, and dingy paintwork, but fixing these issues can make a big difference in the resell potential.

If you are looking to take on a bigger project, it’s important to have a reliable surveyor to inspect the building to give you an overview of any structural problems. Having an expert evaluation can help you decide just how much ‘fixing’ your property will need.

Renovation problems to consider

Bear in mind that you can change plenty of things about a property, but you cannot change everything. Buying a fixer-upper can be a good financial move, but only if that property has the potential to be worth more in the future.

You can turn a dilapidated house into the best property on the street, but if the location is undesirable, you won’t gain much by giving it a makeover. It’s important to consider the things you won’t be able to change, such as the local amenities and nearby schools. Some properties may also be in areas that are at high risk of flooding or subsidence. These issues likely won’t be fixable no matter how beautiful the property looks.

There can also be numerous drawbacks in doing up an older building. Asbestos removal, conservation regulations and electrical concerns can all pose huge issues in the renovation, especially if you haven’t factored these problems into your budget.

Staying on top of your renovation budget

It’s common to hear of people going far over their budget. It’s a good idea to leave a little bit of leeway in your finances, as it’s best to assume you will probably go over budget.
Buying a fixer-upper house can seem like a good financial decision to many, especially since the mortgage you take out will be on the property’s current value, rather than its potential value. However, be careful to consider the approximate cost of your renovations as part of the total property price. It’s easy to think that a house at a low price is a steal, but if you spend much more than you meant to, then it may not be worth it. Sitting down and creating a rough plan of the work that needs doing and the cost of those renovations will help you stay on track.

Reselling your fixer-upper

Before jumping in with both feet, is important to decide whether you are planning to find a fixer-upper for reselling or whether you plan to live there yourself. If you are looking to resell, kitchens and bathrooms, and second (or third) bedrooms can attract future buyers. The goal is to appeal to the widest pool of people possible.

If you are planning to live there yourself, you may have different priorities. You may be comfortable with forgoing a large kitchen in exchange for a study area. Fixing up your own future home can be rewarding, as you can create a property that fits your needs perfectly.

This article is intended to give you an insight into the process of buying and fixing up a property. By learning about what to look for in viewings and how to increase the resell value of a property, you should be better prepared to take the next steps. If you have any questions or concerns, House Fox is here to help. Our team is on hand to help you find the ideal property for you. Get in touch by visiting the ‘Contact’ section of our website. Follow us on Facebook for more hints, tips, insights and competitions.