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Pros and Cons of Choosing a True 'Fixer-Upper' as Your Next Home

When you dream of buying a house, do you want a quick move into a turn-key property? Some people know ahead of time that they don’t want to fuss with renovations, or they have a budget that allows them to buy a house that’s mostly move-in ready. Others see the reward in fixing up a neglected home, and hope to spot a diamond in the rough with tons of potential.

Either option requires plenty of due diligence, from shopping home insurance quotes to finding a reputable building inspector and working with the bank to make it happen. But if the idea of putting some elbow grease into a property that needs renovations sounds appealing, you should consider all the pros and cons before committing. Despite the many memorable HGTV transformations, buying a fixer-upper and living in it comes with its own set of challenges. CoverHound is here to help you find the right protection for any new property you buy.

Choosing a Fixer-Upper: Pros

You know neighborhoods so beautiful that you can’t help but sigh when you drive through them? Ordinarily, these areas may exceed your budget. But finding a fixer-upper in a desirable neighborhood could be your ticket in. It’s a good rule of thumb to buy the worst house on the best block, and not the other way around. You’ll get to enjoy the reward of living in a great neighborhood, and if you decide to re-sell your home down the line, buyers will be eager.

Buying a fixer-upper can be a great deal. How can you determine if a fixer-upper is a savvy investment for your future or a money drain? Hire an inspector before signing your name on the dotted line. This is the best way to find out if your prospective home needs hidden repairs like plumbing, structural work, wall repairs, and more. Planning diligently for costs—and adding a cushion for unforeseen projects—allows you to have control over how your fixer-upper ultimately turns out.

Choosing a Fixer-Upper: Cons

Just like buying a property that’s desperately in need of some TLC can help you move to a coveted neighborhood, it can also price you out of the wrong neighborhood and make your property hard to sell further down the line. U.S. News & World Report offers a cautionary tale involving a therapist and her handy husband who bought a home in Cincinnati, fixed it up and realized they’d built themselves right out of the neighborhood’s price range. When the couple decided to sell a few years later, they got back $19,000 after pouring $25,000 into renovations. It’s a better idea to find a bargain in a nicer neighborhood, both for quality of life and for resale potential.

While tackling a fixer-upper can be fulfilling, it also takes a lot of work. If you’re accommodating a full-time job or family responsibilities, it can be hard to put in handiwork yourself or actively supervise contractors as they take on projects. There’s no immediate gratification in the fixer-upper market, but the long-term payoffs can be worthwhile.

Homeowners who plan to live in their fixer-upper during renovations will need patience and flexibility to make it through what can be a very difficult period. One married couple who bought a small fixer-upper in California had to wait until after structural problems were addressed to start working on the kitchen or plumbing, per This Old House. For months, they lived inside the torn-up shell of their future home. According to the wife, it was “depressing” and they were “living in the middle of what seemed like every problem imaginable.” If you aren’t ready to deal with some discomfort and jostling for weeks or months after your purchase, a fixer-upper probably is not for you.

Compare home insurance quotes using CoverHound to find a policy that helps protect the home you’ve worked so hard to make your own. As they say, home is where the heart is!

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