People usually purchase fixer-uppers to save money since homes that need repairs typically sell well below market value. If they decide to resell or “flip” their homes after making repairs, they can often recoup their investment and make some extra money, especially when dealing with historic homes and buyers who need fully finished properties as quickly as possible. Yet, these homes can be money pits as well. Before buying a fixer-upper, always make certain that you’re prepared for potentially thousands of dollars in repairs in any of these four areas:
When a fixer-upper has a bad roof, a homeowner must typically replace the whole thing. Water that seeps underneath the upper layer because of a few worn or missing shingles can damage the underlayment and decking and result in attic and wall leaks that cause structural damage and mold. Deteriorated materials can give insects and other pests access to the structure where they then build nests and cause additional damage. Rotting rafters or a crumbling chimney can even lead to partial or total roof collapse.
A wet basement can reduce air quality, damage materials and allow unhealthy mold to form. The most common sources of moisture are leaking pipes; gaps around pipes, windows and other fixtures; and foundation, floor and wall cracks. If the basement in a fixer-upper has a moisture problem, then you will need to pay for professional basement waterproofing services. An experienced professional might need to replace crumbling or damaged blocks, repair cracks and gaps, apply interior sealants to prevent the walls from absorbing moisture or install a dehumidifying or an interior drainage system.
Beyond basement moisture problems, any wall elsewhere in the home might have cracks or gaps that have caused moisture issues. This type of damage can allow mold to grow anywhere that it’s dark and give insects and pests access. Worse yet, walls contain major support beams that you might need to replace entirely if they’ve deteriorated from moisture, pests or merely the passage of time. You also need to hire an inspector to check for asbestos. If they find it, you will need to pay a lot of money to have it safely removed from the structure.
Any system related to utilities, such as plumbing, electrical and heating/cooling, might require expensive repairs or total replacement. Fixer-uppers often have outdated, non-to-code utility-related systems. Old, corroded pipes can leak or even flood the structure. Old wiring might fail to meet your power consumption needs and feature coverings that are far more flammable than modern alternatives. Pests sometimes chew old wiring, which can also result in sparks and fires. Additionally, you might need to replace the entire hot water heater and tank, furnace and/or HVAC system.
You might also face high costs in terms of both time and money if you have to perform a lot of small or cosmetic repairs. It’s important that you invest in an inspection and consider your budget before buying a fixer-upper. This type of home can be a nightmare that eats through your savings or the investment of your dreams. The outcome depends entirely on the steps you take to determine the potential overall repair costs before making the purchase.