How To Buy A Fixer Upper With Potential

With shows like The Property Brothers and Fixer Upper filling up the Netflix queues of HGTV addicts, more and more people are becoming open to the idea of buying a house that needs some work. The beautiful results on these shows help people to see that some spaces have potential. However, not all fixer uppers are worth the work. How do you know if the house you're going to buy is a good investment or whether you should just keep looking?

What To Look For


One of the reasons why run-down homes can be a great investment is because underneath the bad 70s renovations and terrible wallpaper, there are hidden gems of character and charm. For instance, finding preserved hardwood under green shag carpet or opening up a wall to find an old brick surface helps bring a house to life; these are the details that many homeowners love to have but cannot easily recreate. 

Ugly Ducklings

Sometimes, homes cannot sell because they just look ugly. They have no curb appeal, terrible landscaping, poor paint colors, stained carpet, and pink bathrooms. These houses require more renovation, but they could be swans in their infancy. They have been passed over by buyers because they simply don't enjoy looking at the house. However, adding a porch or revamping the siding and landscaping on the exterior usually can fix the curb appeal problem, and renovating bathrooms and kitchens with modern colors and finishes (while expensive) definitely gives you a return for your money. Ugly ducklings have plenty of cosmetic problems, but nothing that will become a money pit.

Small Rooms

Small rooms usually turn buyers away from a house, but if you're looking for a fixer upper, then small rooms become your best friend. Houses with lots of little rooms have more flexibility for expanding or redefining the floor plan-- more walls can be knocked down, and it can be easier to make space where there was none. Avoid houses that have few walls and a bad floor plan-- these few walls are bearing walls, which are expensive to tear down, and a bad floor plan is harder to fix when you can't move walls around as easily. 

What To Avoid

So, if these are the things to look for, what are the things to avoid? Generally, you don't want to buy anything that is beyond your ability to fix within a reasonable cost. Usually, the most costly issues are things like:

  • bad wiring
  • broken or poorly constructed sewer and drainage lines
  • sinking foundations or geological shifts that make reparation nearly impossible
  • additions that are not up to code and must be repaired or replaced

Talk to a home renovation company like Attainable Solutions Inc about buying your fixer upper. They will be able to give you more advice on whether a home is a diamond or a lump of coal.