Buying That Fixer-Upper – Remodeling Your New Home

If you’re in the home-buying market this Spring, you know the mantra “Location, location, location.” It’s the first thing on your list of requirements. However, sometimes buyers find themselves in a situation where the location is ideal, but the house is not. Or, they really want to live in a certain neighborhood, but they simply can’t afford anything except the worst house on the block and it needs major repairs.

Remodeling the home may be a solution to these dilemmas, but here are five things to remember when considering that solution:

Visualize what you’d like to do to change the current home. Is it remodeling the bathrooms to bring them up to date or bumping out the walls in the kitchen to expand the space? Be certain your ideas have a basis in reality: make sure it can be done within the confines of the home, and that it will be cost-effective.

Have a conversation with a general contractor before you buy a home that you’re considering remodeling. Explain what you’d like to do, and ask for feedback. The general contractor should be able to share some ideas and give you some brief zoning, permit and building code information.

Ask a general contractor or remodeling specialist for a ballpark estimate of how much your remodeling job will cost. While it’s only ballpark, it will tell you approximately how much more you’ll be spending on the house in addition to the purchase price.

Live in the house for a while – possibly a year—to see exactly what changes you should make. You may find that there are bigger things that need attention, such as the HVAC system or a bigger bathroom, rather than that dream kitchen.

Consider doing the remodeling in phases according to importance to your daily life. When calculating your ROI, keep in mind the use your family will get out of a custom-remodeling project – it’s not just about the money, it’s about the functionality and lifestyle, too.