Considering a Fixer Upper? What First-Time Home Buyers Need to Know


Considering a Fixer Upper?

What First-Time Home Buyers Need to Know

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It’s something everybody does. You are watching your favorite television show — let’s say it’s about house flipping or DIY home repairs — and you think to yourself, “I could do that.” It makes sense. The goal of all that professional Hollywood editing is to make it look easy. However, when it comes to things like investing in a fixer-upper home that needs serious updates, repairs, and renovations, is it really the best option for everybody? The short answer is no. If you aren’t willing to wait and work toward your dream home, buying a fixer-upper is not for you.

With that being said, there are plenty of reasons first-time home buyers should consider a fixer-upper.

  • When you find that perfect property, there will be less competition for it when there are big repairs and renovations that need to be done.

  • A fixer-upper costs less on your initial investment. For instance, the average listing price for a fixer upper home in La Jolla, CA is $2.1M. You still have to put money into it, but you can do so as you tackle projects one-by-one.

  • When you put hours into fixing your home, you truly get to know its ins and outs while developing a sixth sense for determining what is behind an issue.

  • Putting work into a home is therapeutic. Setting goals and accomplishing them is great for building confidence and self-esteem. Also, there’s no better way to get out excess aggression than tearing down a wall with a sledgehammer.

Tips for Your First Fixer-Upper

If you dream of investing in a home that needs more than a little work, it is important to be realistic before actually going through with a purchase. It’s fun to fantasize about weekends in your work clothes tearing up carpet and replacing appliances, but the reality is never as romantic as the fantasy. If you want your fixer-upper life to be manageable, take the following advice to ensure you are doing it the smart way.

  • Considering your property’s location is much more important if you are investing in a fixer-upper. Before putting in a bid, assess the neighborhood and its desirability to future potential home buyers.

  • Get on a first-name basis with a home or property inspector, because you are going to see him often. When you find a fixer-upper house that piques your interest, the first inspection is going to come back with a laundry list of things that need to be done. You can use those issues when negotiating with the seller, but have your inspector come back another time to ensure your demands were met.

  • If you don’t have experience with DIY projects, you will after the first year living in a fixer-upper. Read up on project guidelines and consider investing in quality power tools, including drills, sanders, jigsaws, and other things that make your fixer-upper projects easier.

  • When tackling projects, start with high-function areas like the kitchen and bathroom first so you can at least be comfortable in your home while working on the rest of it. Moving forward, work on projects that increase the property value so you get the most for your investment.

  • Once the renovations are done, it’s okay to sell the house and flip it for a profit. There is some family out there who would love an updated home that’s ready to go. If you loved living in a fixer-upper, selling your old renovated home can provide the funds you need for your next project.


A fixer-upper home requires less of an initial investment, but you still have to be smart if you want a return when the time to sell arrives. Look for a home in a great location, and use your home inspector to get essential repairs completed before you buy. Be prepared for DIY projects with the right information and tools while starting with projects that add value to the home. Finally, consider your end goal when it comes to living in a fixer-upper. If the renovation life calls to you, selling your home once it is completed can fund your next project.