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Is a Fixer-Upper Right for Me?


The fixer-upper is awfully enticing when you’re looking for a new home. There’s opportunity in a fixer-upper: the chance to craft the home you’ve always wanted and to save some money in the process. However, there are pros and cons both with fixer-uppers and move-in-ready homes. Here are a few considerations as you make the right decision for your circumstances:

Move-In-Ready Houses

The name says it all: There is no additional cost to a move-in-ready home because it’s move-in ready. These homes feature advanced technology and energy efficiency. Financing is also far simpler when you choose a move-in-ready home.

Finding a perfect move-in-ready home is difficult, though. Unless you custom build, there are few homes that are truly move-in ready. You’ll find that you want to make changes and add your own flair to even the most attractive homes. Move-in-ready homes are also more expensive, as buyers are paying for the convenience of not having to conduct any renovations.


The fixer-upper is attractive because you get a nearly blank canvas. You get incredible savings if you find the right property, and you can remake it into the home you’ve always wanted. There’s the opportunity to make a great deal of money when you sell — that is, if you don’t love it so much that you want to stay forever.

However, a fixer-upper is not without challenges. Costs can easily spiral out of control, negating the value that many hope to get out of a fixer-upper. If you use a contractor, the process can get expensive. If you don’t, it can be overly complicated. There’s also greater risk with a fixer-upper, as you can’t easily sell in the middle of the renovation if things aren’t going as planned.

Final Considerations

There’s no right or wrong answer when weighing a fixer-upper vs. a move-in-ready home. It all depends on your circumstances and desires, as well as the specific properties you’re considering. If you do move forward with a fixer-upper, here’s a brief list of things to consider:

  • Consider a bad home but good neighborhood. There’s value in location and neighborhood. If you find the worst home in a valuable neighborhood with good location, you’ll increase your chances for success.
  • Ugly is in. Many homes linger on the market because they’re lacking in curb appeal. This is an opportunity for the fixer-upper. You can build into your budget renovations that will make your home much more attractive, especially to subsequent buyers.
  • Think like a subsequent buyer. Rather than adding personal touches, renovate in a way that would have mass appeal. Many individuals are looking for a fixer-upper so they can turn a huge profit when reselling. Put your efforts into kitchens, bathrooms, wide open spaces and other things that later buyers will be looking for.
  • Master the reverse wish list. Many buyers are looking for remodeled kitchens, new windows, finished basements and attics, and more. You want just the opposite: find homes that have not been remodeled. This is where the opportunity in a fixer-upper lies.
  • Follow the plan. A fixer-upper is only worth it if you’re getting value out of the process. Develop a realistic budget and plan, and then stick to them. The result will be a fixer-upper that you’ll love, and one that will be attractive to future buyers.

CENTURY 21 Core Partners can offer a team of talented real estate professionals who can help you identify the perfect fixer-upper. To get started, contact us today!

photo credit: Front of House via photopin (license)

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