If you've made the decision to buy a 'fixer-upper' (that is, a dilapidated house that you intend to renovate), it's important to proceed with caution. Here are two crucial steps which you should take if decide to make this type of investment.
Invest in a building inspection
One of the biggest issues with fixer-uppers is that they can often have problems which are not immediately visible to the untrained eye. If you buy an old dilapidated house, under the assumption that its issues are mostly of a cosmetic nature, only to later discover that there are huge structural or dampness problems, you could find yourself stuck with a property that you cannot afford to repair.
This is why, even if your budget is quite small, it is vital to seek out the help of a building inspections service. A building inspection will provide you with insight into the property's structural soundness (or lack thereof) and detect any issues with mould, wood rot and subsidence. The information gleaned from this process will enable you to calculate the true cost of renovating the property and thus allow you to make a well-informed decision about whether or not you should buy it.
Skipping this stage of the purchasing process, so that you can save a few hundred dollars, could end up costing your thousands more in the long run.
Hire an experienced contractor
The contractor you choose to hire for your renovation project will have a huge impact on its success. They have a number of important responsibilities, each of which could affect the outcome you achieve; they are tasked with sourcing the appropriate construction materials, hiring various tradespeople and, where necessary, bringing in subcontractors to complete specific jobs.
Whilst hiring an experienced, knowledgeable contractor is important for any type of building project, it is particularly vital in instances where a dilapidated and potentially problematic property is involved. Fixer-uppers generally come with a whole host of issues which, if dealt with by an unskilled contractor, could leave you with a lot of repair work to pay for in the future.
Conversely, a contractor who has already renovated many fixer-uppers will be more familiar with the problems associated with these type of properties and will, therefore, be better equipped to handle them.
As such, it's essential to spend as much time as you can on finding the right contractor for your project. Conduct several interviews before you make your decision; during these conversations, make sure to ask each contractor about the type of projects they have worked on in the past and whether or not they are willing to provide references from previous clients.