Buy a house to fix up yourself

2015-07-21 06:00
If you like DIY, buying a house to fix up yourself might be a good idea.


If you like DIY, buying a house to fix up yourself might be a good idea. PHOTO: dreamstime

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With house prices on the rise in most popular areas, more buyers are open to the idea of acquiring a “fixer-upper” property.

Such properties allow them to gain cheaper entry to their favourite area in return for some of their own labour or “sweat equity”.

According to a press release by Richard Gray, CEO of a well-known real estate company, “buying a home that needs some work is a tried-and-tested formula for getting more house for your money — especially if you’re handy and enjoy DIY, but you do need to be able to tell the difference between a property that is worth working on and one that would cost more to fix than it will ever be worth.

So what you should be looking for, he says, are properties that require cosmetic fixes and have been somewhat discounted to allow for those, and homes that may require more work, but are structurally sound and where the seller is really willing to negotiate a good deal.

To help fixer-upper buyers, Gray’s company has compiled a list of items that are relatively inexpensive to fix – and may just give you the leverage to acquire a hidden beauty of a home in your dream location.

These include:

. Faded paintwork, worn carpets, scuffed and scarred countertops, old light fittings and an overgrown garden, which are all to be found in homes where the owners didn’t want to invest any more time or money prior to selling – and where all that is really needed are a few purchases from the hardware and home improvement stores, some spadework and a good clean to bring it up to standard.

. An ugly cloak over good structural “bones”. Sometimes all it takes is to get rid of badly-planned or executed additions and renovations to expose a well-designed home that you can return to its attractive original form.

. Roof leaks and stained ceilings. Both these problems can usually be solved by putting on a new roof – that may also create an opportunity to open up a dated or dark interior by leaving the beams exposed to roof height and perhaps installing some skylights.

. Bathrooms that are more than retro. Provided the plumbing is sound, it is really easy to update a bathroom now with a huge range of shower, bathtub and vanity options on offer.

. An old kitchen. Replacing an entire kitchen is one of the most expensive renovations you can undertake, but also one of the best in terms of return on your money and improving the liveability an older home.

. Small rooms and dark interiors. You will need professional advice before you do this, but by taking out non-load bearing walls, you may well be able to create one modern open-plan living area out of two or three smaller rooms.

However, says Gray, there are some problems that just can’t be fixed, no matter how much you spend, and you need to be sure that the fixer-upper you have your eye on has none of these or it will just become a money-pit

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