What To Look For When Buying A Fixer Upper (Avoid This!)

If you’re in the market for a new home, a fixer-upper can be a great option to consider. However, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before making a decision. While fixer-uppers can offer a great opportunity to customize a home to your liking and get it at a lower price, there are certain warning signs you should be aware of. In this post, we’ll discuss what to look for when buying a fixer-upper and some key pitfalls to avoid. So whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced investor, keep reading to learn more!

What To Look For When Buying A Fixer-Upper: Avoid This!


Buying a fixer-upper is an excellent way to acquire a home that is both affordable and has potential for customization. Some of the reasons why people look for fixer-uppers include inheriting a run-down house, acquiring an entry-level housing, and wanting to renovate a home oneself to save money. However, if you are considering purchasing a fixer-upper, there are many factors to consider. This article aims to provide useful information for anyone looking into buying a fixer-upper.

Understand The Era Of Construction Technology

When searching for a fixer-upper to purchase, it is important to understand the era of construction technology the house was built in. Houses built before 1974 may have issues with toxic materials such as asbestos and lead. Therefore, before buying a fixer-upper from that period, it is crucial to have the home inspected by a professional inspector who can identify any potential hazards.

Upgrades for Mechanical Systems

It is important to remember that mechanical systems typically have a lifespan of 50 years. Thus, if you are considering a fixer-upper house from that era, it is likely necessary to upgrade systems such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. In addition, you should be prepared to replace older appliances and structural components like roofs, foundations, and windows.

Check Comparables in the neighborhood

Before purchasing a fixer-upper, it is crucial to check comparables in the neighborhood as well as the local real estate market. This will give you an idea of what the home could be worth after the renovation project is complete. With this information, you can avoid paying the same price for an older generation home as a newer one.

Consider The Year Of Construction

Houses built between 1980 and later are considered safer as they do not have issues with toxicity. However, it is important to note that just because these homes are newer, they may not necessarily be cheaper than older homes. Moreover, it is essential to have an inspector look at any fixes that have been done to ensure they were done properly and to identify any potential safety hazards.

Check With the Local Building Office

It is important to check with the local building office before starting renovation projects on any property you intend to purchase. Building codes vary from area to area, and it is essential to follow the codes and secure permits. If inspections are not performed, this could result in costly fines, delays, and even having to redo completed work.

5 Unique FAQs After The Conclusion

FAQ 1: What is a fixer-upper?
A fixer-upper is a house or property that requires extensive renovation and repair. It often comes at a lower price point, making it more affordable than other properties on the market.

FAQ 2: Are fixer-uppers always a good investment?
No, fixer-uppers are not always a good investment. It is crucial to research the neighborhood, local real estate market, and have the home inspected by a professional inspector to identify potential problems and additional costs.

FAQ 3: Can I do the renovation work myself?
Yes, you can renovate the fixer-upper house by yourself. However, keep in mind that the work might require professional help, especially for complex projects such as electrical or plumbing.

FAQ 4: Can I use a loan to purchase a fixer-upper?
Yes, you can use loans specifically designed for fixing-up homes, such as the FHA 203k loan. Be sure to research the various options available, evaluate their terms and rates, and consult with a professional before deciding on the most suitable option.

FAQ 5: What’s the biggest mistake to avoid when buying a fixer-upper?
The biggest mistake to avoid when buying a fixer-upper is underestimating the overall renovation costs. To avoid this mistake, conduct thorough research, consider all necessary upgrades, and get all estimates from contractors to avoid surprises that may strain your finances.


Fixer-uppers may come at an affordable price point, but they require a lot of work, time and effort. When searching for the right property, it’s imperative to keep in mind the age of construction technology, mechanical systems, area comparables, renovation costs, and building codes. By considering all these factors, it is possible to make an informed decision about whether to pursue a fixer-upper project.

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