Tips on Fixer-Upper Homes

Buying a new home can be stressful, even more so when you opt for a fixer-upper. But it’s something many potential homebuyers are considering, especially in a hot housing market like Toronto, where fixer-uppers can be much cheaper than an average home.

Although it’s difficult to estimate the number of fixer-uppers in a big city, experts agree there is value to be found out there. That’s partly because in today’s busy society, many people simply don’t have the time or the inclination to take on a fixer-upper project. That means there’s less demand for fixer-uppers and therefore better prices.

If you do take the plunge, here are some tips for turning that fixer-upper into a dream home.

Plan Ahead

Make sure you focus on your end goal. If the idea is to flip the property, concentrate on areas that are going to add the most value. For instance, an updated kitchen will add more value than air conditioning. Determine the scope of the project. How much can you do on your own and when will you require the services of a professional, such as a contractor, plumber or electrician?

Figuring these things out in advance will help you create a budget, another necessity. Before beginning the renovation, make sure to look into building permits. In Toronto, for instance, it’s the homeowners' responsibility to make sure the applicable building codes are being followed.

Seek Out a Trustworthy Contractor

For most big projects, a contractor is a necessity. But you have to do your homework. Word-of-mouth is likely the best way to find a good contractor. Ask your friends and family who they would recommend. Make sure you get referrals as well. And don’t allow your contractor to sub-contract out the work, experts advise. While it’s not illegal, it can create headaches for the homeowner.

Be Prepared for Stress

Renovations aren’t for the weak of heart. They take plenty of planning and patience. If not dealt with properly, such projects can be detrimental to relationships and even end marriages. In fact, for many professional couples, a fixer-upper probably doesn’t make sense. You need to be able to put in the time required for fixer-upper projects.

In Toronto’s current housing market, finding good value can be a challenge. Prices are high and every day people are being priced out of the market. For many buyers, a fixer-upper may be the last hope of finding property in the city.

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