When It Makes Sense To Buy An Ugly Duckling

When It Makes Sense To Buy An Ugly DucklingMove-in ready” homes are desirable — there’s no doubt about it! But sometimes it makes better financial sense to opt for a house with dated decor and a less than trendy kitchen or master bath. You may not get your dream home immediately, but the opportunity to transform a property into your own swan can be rewarding. It can also be easy on the pocketbook.

When looking at Ugly Ducklings, however, look first to structural integrity and the condition of major home systems. including plumbing and septic, driveway and drainage. A home inspection is invaluable, even though no inspector can guarantee trouble-free systems. Inspections will alert you to potential problems: Needed roof repairs, leaking faucets, inoperable appliances, termite infestation or dry rot and the like.

All home components have a life span, and if you’re buying an older home, try to determine the age of its systems, including heating and air conditioning, and kitchen appliances.

Here are some ways to weigh the pros and cons:

Electrical Wiring

Assure that the electrical panel and service to the home are ample for your needs. If the panel is undersized or the home still has aluminum wiring, you’ll probably want to check on repair and replacement costs: In some older homes, it might be a deal killer. But it also might be an opportunity. You’ll have to weigh the options.

Roof

A roof that has been well-maintained, and that currently has no major deficiencies, is a bonus. If there are existing problems with shingles or gutters, it’s prudent to get an estimate for needed repairs from a qualified roofer. Use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

HVAC

Heating and Air Conditioning are major “quality of life” considerations. Whatever systems the house has installed should be in reasonable condition, and should heat and cool appropriately on demand. That doesn’t assure that you won’t have some costs sooner rather than later. But, depending on the age of the systems, you make get many more years of use.

Appliances

Older appliances may not have all the bells and whistles of stylish new models. But kitchen updates are expensive; the most costly items include cabinets and appliances. Buying a house with a vintage kitchen means that you can undertake a redo on your own terms, doing a little or a lot on your own timetable and with a specific budget in mind. 

Decor

Paint and simple fixes can change the whole look of a room, and put a new face on a whole house. A little elbow grease and a lot of imagination will easily compensate for the extra price of a remodeled home with all the newest materials. 

Landscaping

If you’re looking for bargains, look beyond negative curb appeal. Consider lot size and potential, and know that with a little cash and a lot of sweat equity, a nondescript yard can be transformed. Choose low-maintenance plants and reap double rewards.

Buying property in need of TLC, a Plain Jane, or the ugliest house on the block can be a wise decision if you have a little patience. But you might have to also invest some time and effort, along with some cash, to make it a thing of beauty. 

If you are in the market for a fixer-upper, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional for a pre-approval and to discuss financing options.

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper?

Should You Buy A Fixer UpperPopular TV shows like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers have brought the charms of owning a fixer upper to light. A fixer-upper can be a great option if you are prepared for the experience of owning a house that needs work and time.

A house that needs work can be a great investment if you are ready to invest the time and money into it. On the other hand, buying a fixer upper might be a problem if you are not aware of what you are getting into.

Not sure if owning a fixer upper is worth it? Here are some considerations to think about.

Start With This Easy Equation

Start with the likely market value of the house after renovations will be made. Then, sum up the cost to renovate the home. Then, add another 25 percent to the renovation costs for unforeseen problems that will no doubt come up during the renovation process.

Next, subtract the renovation costs from the probable market value of the house after the renovations are made. Use similar real estate prices in the area to get your estimate.

What number is left? This number what you should offer.

So, if the comparable estimates are $100,000 and the house needs $25,000 in work, then you should offer no more than $75,000 to break even. Most professionals recommend deducting 10 percent from the asking price just to make the investment of time worthwhile.

Determine How You Will Pay

If you buy a fixer-upper, you’re going to need some way to fund the renovations. It can be hard coming up with the funds for repairs and upgrades after paying closing costs. Some options for funding renovations include a renovation loan, like Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Loan. This loan is rolled right into your mortgage, which makes things easier.

Another popular option is an FHA 203(k) loan. This loan is a little easier to qualify for than the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Loan and it only requires 3.5% down.

Decide If You Want To Invest The Time

Buying a fixer-upper is an investment. You will have to invest your time in making a lot of decisions. You’ll need to decide on things like building materials and aesthetics.

Do you have a design or architectural background? Do you enjoy remodeling projects? These are questions that you’ll really want to think about before buying a fixer upper.

Your trusted mortgage professional will be your best resource to help you secure the right financing for your new home project. 

Is It A Good Idea To Buy A Remodeled Home?

Is It A Good Idea To Buy A Remodeled Home?Are you considering buying a flipped house? Here are some ways to tell if it is a good idea or not.

If you watch popular TV shows like Property Brothers, Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper, you might believe that buying a remodeled home is a great idea. These shows always have happy endings. The process looks fun and easy, and the houses turn out beautiful. However, it is rarely this easy when buying a real-life remodeled home.

There are plenty of flipped houses that turn out to have significant problems. Contractors who do remodels sometimes rush through the job. This can lead to subpar work. While the house might look beautiful initially, problems could start to show up months later.  

A flipped house can be a great deal. However, it pays to do your homework before buying one. Maintain a skeptical eye when touring the home. If you notice any of these things, move on.

Unpermitted Work

If you live in a full-disclosure state like Texas, you are in luck. Sellers are required to disclose to buyers everything that they know about the house. This should make it easy to get a list of the work that the flipper completed.

Even if you don’t live in a state that requires full disclosure, still ask for a list of work. After you have a list of the upgrades, check for permits. Most larger remodeling projects need a permit.

Avoid a remodeled home that has had unpermitted upgrades. There is a chance that it is not up to code. Aside from being a safety risk, unpermitted work can make it harder to get financing or insurance on a home.

A Flipper With A Bad Reputation

Before making an offer on a rehabbed home, ask who did the work. Learn everything you can about the person or company. Are they known for doing high-quality work?  

Flippers that have solid reputations want happy customers. Most want to avoid legal issues later, which could ruin their reputation and damage their business. So, they will usually ensure that the work is up to standard.

Avoid flippers or contractors that are not well known. Many move on to the next town after the job is over and so don’t care if they leave behind unhappy customers as they won’t be around.

A Failed Inspection

Beautiful hardwood floors, countertops and shiny new kitchen appliances might make a house look like it was just built. However, most flipped houses hide a dark history. Many remodeled homes have had a substantial lack of maintenance and were in a state of significant disrepair before being flipped.

Some contractors cover up problems rather than do the extensive work needed. Therefore, it pays to have the home inspected. A good home inspector will be more likely to spot things that an average homeowner might miss.

Your trusted mortgage professional can help you get your financing in order and provide you with a pre-approval letter so you are primed and ready to make an offer on the right property for you.

 

Fix and Flip: Forget What You See on Television

Fix and Flip Forget What You See on TelevisionThe drama of home and garden TV shows may be fun to watch, but no matter what you think, reality shows are not at all like real life. If you think it’s easy to buy a house that needs updating and turn it quickly for substantial profit, you might want to think again. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that you should shy away from the idea of buying a “fixer-upper” — just that you should approach such a home purchase with eyes wide open.

Here are some valuable tips:

  • Buying a house that needs cosmetic updates can make financial sense, particularly if you’re handy with a paintbrush, or don’t mind tackling DIY projects in your spare time. The willingness to make a house your home through ongoing TLC can be rewarding in terms of both dollars and good sense, if the structure is sound and all systems are in working condition.
  • Modern appliances, updated lighting and water-saving plumbing fixtures and faucets — even new carpeting and tile — are all items that can be replaced over time as your budget allows. But if the existing home systems aren’t in working order, you may be in for big surprises that can be hard to handle.
  • Buy a house that needs a new roof, major structural work, new HVAC or major kitchen renovation only if you can roll the work into a home improvement loan and, preferably, complete the rehab before you move in. If a house isn’t habitable, it’s really not a bargain!
  • Always pay for a home inspection prior to making an offer. While an independent inspection is not a guarantee that all systems are “go,” it should allow you to plan the next move. The best strategy might be to walk away and look for another well-priced property.
  • Remember that homes are priced under market for a reason. Sometimes the reason has nothing to do with physical problems and everything to do with the seller. Older homes in stable neighborhoods often represent great deals for sellers and buyers alike!

The best way to find a great deal, though, is to work with a professional realtor who is familiar not only with the local market, but who can advise you about real estate trends, financing options and the best ways to realize an appropriate return on your investment.

If you have dreams of becoming the next HGTV phenomenon, take the words of Chip and Joanna to heart: Their book confirms that they worked long hours, faced plenty of discouragement and experienced a fair amount of luck. In fact, as they note, their “overnight success” took many years!

After all, owning your own home, even if it does require some fixing, is still the American Dream!

Unless you are fortunate enough to have cash on hand, one of the most crucial steps before realizing most real estate dreams is to get pre-approved for mortgage financing. Contact your trusted mortgage professional to find out how much of a dream property you can be ready to invest in!

 

 

 

Thinking About Buying A Fixer-Upper? Know These Top Resources To Make The Most Profit

Thinking About Buying A Fixer-Upper? Know These Top Resources To Make The Most ProfitIf your financial situation is limited, yet you’re handy with a hammer and nails, then purchasing a fixer-upper home can be an attractive option. Fixer-uppers typically require a bevy of updates and repairs to bring the home up to current market conditions.

Because of this, the listing price is often considerably less than a move-in ready home.  Your trusted real estate professional can help you find the best projects to buy and sell.

Getting Started

Fixer-uppers aren’t for everyone, but there are plenty of resources available if you plan to do most of the repair and upgrades yourself. Let’s take a look at a few top resources to tap into if you’re in the market for a fixer-upper or if you’ve already purchased one and you are ready to get started.

  • At Home: A Blog by Joanna Gaines: Chip and Joanna Gaines are well known HGTV personalities who’ve made it their mission to fix up homes. A visit to Joanna Gaines’ blog is a gateway to renovation and decorating tips, products and real-time photos of projects in action. It’s a great place to go for inspiration.
  • Hands-On Workshops: If there’s a Home Depot near your home, chances are you frequent it for many of your hardware needs. There’s another reason you should stop in: Hands-On Workshops. If you want guidance on things like installing bath vanities, tile backsplashes, hanging ceiling fans, or measuring and installing flooring, there’s likely an upcoming workshop at the store that can give you the know-how and confidence necessary to do it yourself.
  • Jeff Patterson’s Home Repair Tutor: This YouTube channel boasts almost 120,000 subscribers and its how-to videos have racked up more than 30.5 million views. Videos include everything from how to tile a shower floor to installing a motion sensor light switch. If you need detailed step-by-step instructions on how to perform a particular job, chances are good this channel has it.
  • The Craftsman Blog: Written by DIY fixer-upper and author Scott Sidler, this blog is packed with how-to advice for home improvement and restoration projects as well as general tips and information about repairs like painting, plastering and restoring windows. This is a blog for a DIY fixer-upper written by a DIY fixer-upper. 
  • Your local hardware store: The big box hardware stores are great for finding just about any sort of tool you’ll need and for hosting how-to workshops. Generally, however, it’s your local, smaller hardware store that can really give you some great one-on-one advice as it pertains to your projects. These stores are typically family owned, and part of the reason they’re able to stay in business is because of their high level of customer service. This often includes guiding you on certain projects.

A fixer-upper can seem like a daunting project when you are getting started. Knowing where to look for the right resources can make a big difference.  Your trusted real estate finance professional is available to assist you and offer additional advice on your new endeavor.