Might a little DIY save you some hard-earned cash? Or would you rather buy a move-in ready home with a premium price tag? There’s a lot to consider when deciding what type of home to buy. Here are some thought-starters.
Make Your Mark
Fixer-Upper: The beauty of a fixer-upper is that you can make it yours — from the finishes to the floor material, it’s all you. That being said, renovation costs can mount when you’re presented with a myriad of choices at climbing price points. (Marble countertops, anyone?)
Renovated: When you walk into a fully renovated home, most of the design choices have already been made for you. There are newly installed oak shaker cabinets when you prefer a white high-gloss finish, and grey laminate floors when you like tile. But if those aren’t deal-breakers, there’s a lot to be said for the convenience and clean-slate state of a move-in-ready home.
Location, Location, Location
Fixer-Upper: Buying the worst house on the best block is the cornerstone for many development companies, and for good reason. People want to live in their preferred neighborhood and will pay more to do so. Renovating a wreck is an investment.
Renovated: A fully renovated home outside of the most coveted neighborhoods or those currently under development is also a smart investment option. If you’re willing to sacrifice your usual stomping grounds for a finished basement and a yard, that move could pay off.
Fixer-Upper: While a home in need of some TLC will cost you less upfront, renovation invoices (especially unexpected ones) can add up quickly. Make sure there’s enough room in your budget to cover what needs to be done — and be prepared to DIY where possible.
Renovated: Sure, a fully renovated home is going to cost more than the one down the street with a leaky roof and sinking foundations, but you don’t have to organize a crew of roofers or call in the basement specialists.
Fixer-Upper: You’ve taken the plunge and bought the small semi-detached in need of some love (okay, lots of love) and you’re thrilled. But some decisions need to be made; namely, where are you going to live during the renovation process? Living on a construction site is not ideal, but neither is paying rent and a mortgage at the same time. Know your limits.
Renovated: Does moving right into your new home, unpacking your boxes, and sleeping on your bed that first night sound good to you? If so, the higher price tag of the renovated home may be worth the convenience, versus living with the mess of months of renovations.
Back Up Plan
Fixer-Upper: The main risk of buying a fixer-upper is running out of renovation money without the project being completed. Unexpected costs, sudden loss of income, or overspending can all lead to financial trouble, and a half-renovated house is much harder to sell if you’re looking to recoup your losses.
Renovated: Once you’ve purchased a fully renovated home, your upgrading costs should be minimal for many years to come. The initial price tag may dwarf that of a fixer-upper, but what you invest now will pay off in worry-free homeownership.