Buying a Fixer Upper Home: What to Know

Buying a Fixer Upper Home: What to Know


How to Acknowledge Pitfalls When Buying a Fixer Upper

If you’re considering purchasing a home in a particularly hot housing market, then you’re probably eager to find ways to save money. Rather than pay full market value for a home that’s in flawless condition, some homebuyers opt for fixer-uppers that are in need of a bit of TLC.

These homes can be excellent deals, but they can also quickly turn into money pits. So which pitfalls should you be on the lookout for when considering a fixer-upper, and which of them are potential deal-breakers?

Foundation Issues

Foundation issues can be fairly common in older homes that have not been renovated, and there are a few ways to spot foundation problems. Walk around the exterior of the house and look for cracks in the foundation. Small cracks may not pose that big of a threat to your wallet, but if you see any cracks wider than a pencil eraser, beware.

Other warning signs include foundation concrete that chips easily, doors and windows that jam or refuse to close, or cracks in walls or floors, especially near doors and windows.

Bad Wiring

Homes with old knob and tube wiring may need to have a new electrical system installed. While old-style K&T wiring is fine if it’s in excellent condition, it tends to degrade over time, and that can pose a serious fire hazard. You should also be aware that insurance companies might charge higher premiums, or even refuse to insure homes with K&T wiring.

Pest Infestation

Termites can do a serious number on a home’s structural integrity. If you’re considering a home that either has termites or carpenter ants present, or has been infested with them in the past, then be sure to proceed with caution.

It may be wise to consult with a local pest control company to determine the extent of the damage to determine the potential costs for maintenance.

Roof Damage

A roof is a home’s shield against the elements, and if it’s damaged, all sorts of undesirable things can happen. A leaky roof lets in water, and that means mold, mildew, water damage, and structural rot. If you notice loose shingles or water-stained ceilings, you could be in for an expensive repair bill down the road.

HVAC Problems

Heating and AC can be a big selling point, especially if you’re buying a home in an area that’s prone to extreme weather conditions. That being said, a defective or damaged HVAC unit could end up being costly or dangerous. Be sure to inspect heating and cooling units to ensure proper functioning on any home you buy, especially older homes. Older homes tend to have outdated, less-efficient units which will add to the power bill each month.

How to Handle Deal-Breakers

First of all, never buy a home without first ordering a thorough inspection. A trained home inspector will have the tools and the know-how to spot serious issues that might not be perceptible to the average homebuyer.

Second, don’t be afraid to negotiate. You may be able to get the seller to make the necessary repairs before closing the deal, and that can save you thousands of dollars.

Third, be willing to walk away. You may love the house now, but if it turns into a money pit, that love can quickly turn into regret. Remember: there are plenty of fish in the sea. Be patient.

For more in-depth advice, consult with a ReeceNichols real estate agent today for more information on homes in Kansas City and the surrounding areas.