Should I buy a fixer?

What happens when your dream home comes with more than its share of dings? The answer lies in your own personal situation. Fixers could be a dream come true or a nightmare waiting to happen, depending on where you are in your life.

First, let’s look at the kinds of fixers that you might (or might not) consider:

· The needy ones. These are wretched from stem to stern and not for the faint of heart. Either bring some experience to the table or hire a licensed contractor.

· The slightly healthier ones. These may not suffer from major structural problems, but are in need of replacement when it comes to major systems and upgrades, meaning you’ll be reaching into your pocket as well as marking your calendar for months if not years of work. Again, experience helps here.

· Cosmetic fixers. While these are the least risky, you need to have some vision for the future. Sometimes they’re a rarity, so if you find one, you may consider grabbing it.

Should you proceed with buying a fixer, here’s some things to consider:

· Figure out cost. This involves a thorough inspection before you even consider purchasing the property. A seller-driven inspection isn’t good enough. You want your own set of eyes to look over the property.

· Following the inspection(s), hire a contractor you trust to give you an estimate for the work. It may help if he or she has the reports prior to the meeting. When it comes to an estimate, mentally add on another chunk of cash to cover things that may come up and increase your total outlay.

· Additional inspections may be necessary, particularly when it comes to roofs and foundations. You’ll want to consult the proper specialists here.

· Ultimately, the price you’ll be willing to pay for a fixer is contingent upon how much work is required as well as the length of time you plan on living in the property once the work is done. Make sure not to take shortcuts on your renovations as they are in progress, or you’ll ultimately pay the price down the road.