If you are thinking seriously about entering the home market, a good way to start is with a fixer-upper. As the cost is reduced, it poses less of a risk financially. Not only that, but it’s more feasible when you are just beginning in the housing market. Here is everything you need to know when buying your first house and repairing a fixer-upper.
If you have not yet determined your financial state including your credit score, do so before beginning. This will help you determine if you’re ready to buy a home or not. It’s suggested to spend no more than about 30 percent of your total monthly income on your mortgage or housing payment. Look at the price of local listings to understand what you’ll be paying. For example, the average listing price for a fixer-upper home in Catonsville, Maryland, is $315,000. Determine if you have enough to shop locally.
While there are plenty of online calculators to help you see what your mortgage might be like, or what sort of house you can afford, don’t hesitate to talk to a local real estate agent. Often, they can provide valuable insight into the home buying process, especially for your immediate area. Speak to your bank, and other banks, about what they might offer you for a mortgage, and other loan types. You want to shop around and get the lowest rate possible. Make sure you have enough saved for a sizable down payment. The more you take off the price tag immediately, the less you pay in the long run.
Find Your Home
Start in your neighborhood, and branch out into your local area. It’s important to not just look at what is being listed, but to consider foreclosed properties, or even contacting owners of properties that may be vacant. You may have to do some legwork to track down the owners, but it may pay off in the long run if you get a good deal. While you want to buy something that needs some tweaks, you want to make sure the foundations of the house are sound before purchase. Check the structure itself before making an offer. If the roof is sagging, this may indicate other issues that a novice may be uncomfortable fixing, or may take a good deal of capital to address.
The first question to ask yourself is if you have the right tools, especially power tools. You’ll need drills, sanders, jigsaws, and everything in between. Firstly, make sure your foundation is in good working order. Look at the biggest projects you have, known as major home repairs and start there, working your way from top to bottom. Look for telltale signs. Mold may mean you have issues with plumbing.
Unless you have experience, a professional should complete most major repairs. Wiring is especially dangerous for someone who is not trained. After the major repairs have been completed, move onto minor repairs such as replacing windows or caulking and installing new fixtures.
Design updates should come after your repairs. If you will be selling the home, keep your designs and colors neutral. If you plan on living in your home, give it the personality you crave. Even if you are selling, adding accents of color can liven up your new living space. Have colorful throw pillows, a beautiful rug or blankets draped casually on the sofa. While your walls will be classic, the home itself will feel much more welcoming.
You may have entered this venture with the intent to sell, or looking to find your forever home. If you’re happy with the location and the repairs you’ve made, you may want to stay. However, if you want to sell, consider the market first. Are homes selling in your neighborhood? If homes in your city are selling and the market is strong, it might be time to sell and earn a tidy profit.
Don’t let the paperwork overwhelm you. There is a lot of research to be done, but it will be worth it in the end. Buying a home is part of so many dreams. It’s time to realize yours.