A recent article in Realtor magazine revisits buying a fix-up home. This time from the first-time buyer’s perspective. In the article, the buyer tells of their 4 big regrets and what they would do differently. Namely,
- Plan the remodel
- Do your homework on costs
- Prepare your neighbors
- Check everything twice
To expand on their first point, I’d say plan the remodel and then remodel according to the plan. Homeowners undertaking a remodel start with a certain idea in mind and then add to it as things develop. For example, they may start by saying they just want to reface the kitchen cabinets and then they decide to install new counter-tops, appliances and so forth. This can quickly break your remodeling budget. That’s why their second point is so important. Once you have a real understanding of the additional costs involved, you may decide to remodel over time. Perhaps you can refinish the cabinets the first year, pick out new appliances the second year and new counter-tops the third year. While having everything now may make it so perfect, you are adding considerable monthly payments to your existing budget.
As with everything else, experience with fix-up homes can help guide you to the path of least stress. There will always be stress when remodeling a home but know what you are getting into helps keep the stress manageable. A big help in this case is what sort of costs are you committing to. It may surprise you to find out that the kitchen cabinets may not be sturdy enough to support the beautiful granite counter-top you really wanted. Once you find out the cost of granite, you may opt for some other solid surface material such as Corian or Silestone which is lot lighter. You may suffer sticker shock when you shop for new flooring. Similarly, fixtures such as faucets & lighting have widely varying pricing. Price shopping in advance will prepare you.
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