7 Things To Check Before Buying a Fixer-Upper For Remodeling Written

Buying a fixer-upper is the dream of many prospective homeowners who don’t have the funds to buy the home of their dreams. You pick up a property on the cheap and spend time renovating and remodeling it until you’re able to move in and enjoy it, or sell it at a profit. It’s not always as lucrative as you’d expect, however, because of hidden faults you only discover when you begin fixing it up after the purchase.

Patching walls, painting and putting in new flooring are easy remodeling tasks that a home building contractor can perform to generate a solid return on your investment. Structural damages are more costly to fix, so check these seven items before you bid on the home to help maximize your profits by avoiding unexpected surprises.

  • Look carefully at the basement walls. Check whether they are bowed inward anywhere, or if there is moisture coming down the walls anywhere. This could indicate foundation leaks that may require excavation of the foundations to repair.

  • Have a plumbing inspection performed by a qualified plumber using closed circuit television cameras. This is particularly important in older homes, because it’s possible that the plumbing no longer complies with the codes and standards for your area. Verify whether the home is connected to the city drainage system or uses a septic tank—particularly if it’s located in an outlying area.

  • Get a roof inspection by a qualified home building contractor. You might think this is an unnecessary expenditure, but a roof is an expensive item to replace. The roof may look fine from the ground level view, but close up you can discover problems such as loose tiles, poorly attached flashing, “ponding” water and former repairs made with inadequate materials.

  • Check the electrical work. Once again, old homes and fixer-uppers often need electrical work, but if the existing wiring is not up to standard you may be looking at a complete rewiring. This is an expensive and time-consuming process and requires sign-off from a building inspector before you can proceed.

  • Examine the insulation in the walls. It’s reasonable to expect to do a certain amount of repairs and replacement, but old insulation that has disintegrated is difficult to remove. If a former owner of the home installed insulation himself, your home building contractor may need to open up all the walls to get rid of moldy, rotting old product and replace it.

  • Check the window frames. Old-style metal windows often rust and can no longer be opened or closed properly. Because of their out-of-date styling they may be difficult to match during replacement, so you could end up having to replace all the windows in the entire house just because a few old windows are bad. Chances are good that the new frames will have different dimensions, so you may have to cut out or build in parts of the window openings in the walls, too.

  • Structural damage is the most critical aspect of remodeling a fixer-upper because it can result in almost rebuilding sections of the home. Extensive wall or roof repairs, foundation upgrade or HVAC installation can all eat up your budget in no time at all.

A thorough property inspection of the home before you make a bid will help you to identify whether the property is a viable purchase option. If it needs more than one of the items on this list, there’s a possibility that it will be too costly to renovate without overcapitalizing. The cost of the inspection is well worthwhile—the best case scenario is that it will verify that the property is a good investment, while at worst it will help you to get out of the deal.