Deals are always appealing, especially during a hot market. So if you're looking to hunt for a house and you see the prospect of nabbing a fixer-upper for a too-good-to-be-true price, you may be tempted.
Just use caution – sometimes that hidden treasure ends up being a disaster. Here are five signs the fixer-upper you're eyeing should be left on the market:
1. Bad Location
There are some things in a new house that can't be fixed, irrespective of how dedicated you are – like location.
Check the home is not next to an unsafe natural formation. If there is unsteady or shifting ground then that could have implications for the house.
Also, do you want good local amenities such as good schools, excellent transport links, green spaces, shops or a nice, leafy garden filled with plants and trees? If there is nothing nearby then you might wish to think twice about buying it.
2. Bad Layout
In any house, including fixer-uppers, the layout of the rooms may be a primary indication of how (or if) the space will fit your needs.
Pay attention to how the space is organized – like where the kids' bedrooms are in reference to the main bedroom. Always remember, though: you simply can knock out non load-bearing walls and make more open-plan spaces – as long as you recognize which walls are which.
3. Bad Plumbing or Electrical Wiring
This is a quick and easy point to consider: if the plumbing or electrical system needs completely redone, leave that fixer-upper alone. The value of fixing those problems will far outweigh the good, potentially leaving you out-of-pocket.
4. Badly Done Renovations or Repairs
If a house has had major renovations and continues to be listed as a fixer-upper, be warned. The renovations did not get done the first time - maybe for good reason - and may need to be revisited all over again.
Similarly, be wary if the house shows signs of natural disaster damage (flooding, foundational damage), or if there are rooms added. They may be illegal additions that don’t have the correct paperwork which will cause you problems down the line.
5. Bad Bones
This is perhaps the most important thing to look at when fixer-upper-hunting, because these are the issues which will take time, money and energy, potentially turning your deal into an ordeal.
The bones are the physical fundamentals of the house – the load-bearing walls, the structural integrity of what is holding it all together. If there's anything questionable about the foundations or the drainage then this is often not the fixer-upper for you.
We all love a bargain – but when trying to find a house, seriously contemplate what could turn a fixer-upper into a money pit.
With all of these handy tips, you ought to be ready to walk into a home and tell what needs a lick of paint and a few minor repairs compared with what could drain your finances.