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What should buyers do before buying a fixer-upper?

Thanks to the popularity of reality television, many families looking to purchase a home wish to find a “fixer-upper.” After all, it certainly brings a sense of accomplishment and meaning to a new home when families can fix it up and make it their own.

There is nothing wrong with this recent trend. However, there are a few things that first-time homebuyers must consider before purchasing a fixer-upper, to protect their investment in their family home, as well as their future.

Research, research, research

Taking time to research is always essential when buying a home, whether or not it is a fixer-upper. Buyers should make sure they research:

  • The average house prices around the area;
  • Proximity to services and schools; as well as
  • One’s own finances.

Being prepared with information is the first step to make the home-buying process much easier in the long run.

Get a proper inspection

Under Connecticut law, home sellers must provide the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Report to any prospective buyer. This report discloses any issues with the property, including, but not limited to:

  • Problems with the HVAC systems;
  • Issues with plumbing or sewage systems; and
  • Concerns regarding the foundation.

Buyers should review this document carefully, but it is still beneficial to get an official inspection of the house from a certified and trusted third party. The inspection will confirm the issues disclosed in the document and perhaps even find issues the seller missed.

Determine the cost of renovation before buying

It is critical for buyers to:

  1. Assess what renovations the house needs; and
  2. Calculate the cost of renovation before purchasing the property or signing any agreements.

On average, the total cost of the renovations is often similar to the price buyers paid for the house – in some cases, it might cost even more.

That is why buyers must calculate the costs of renovation to ensure it fits their budget and will not completely exhaust their finances.

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