What to Consider When Buying a Fixer-Upper

Things to Keep in Mind When Selling a Fixer UpperFor some people, a fixer-upper is the ideal home because it allows them to start with something old and turn it into something new that suits their tastes exactly. When looking for a new fixer-upper home, it’s important to know what to look for to avoid buying a home that’s in such poor condition it isn’t even worth renovating, so here are a few things to keep an eye out for when looking at fixer-upper homes.

First: How Much is Too Much?

When considering a fixer-upper, it’s important to take into account how large of a project it’ll be. Not all fixer-upper homes are created equally, and it's important to proceed as you would in any home buying process. Some may just have a couple big jobs that need to be done to make it feel like home, while others may need to be completely gutted and reworked from the inside out. Before committing to a fixer-upper, all buyers should decide just how much work they’re willing to do on a home before beginning their search for one.


How the home is configured can be one of the most difficult things to change when it comes time to start renovating. An example of bad home layout is having bedrooms directly beside the family room or living room. When looking for a fixer-upper home, finding one with an acceptable layout can save the buyer a lot of money and stress later on.

Roof and Siding

No one wants to get rained on in their home or frozen out of it during the winter. Take a good look at the roof for holes or potential places to leak. Don’t worry too much if it looks discolored or stained—this can just be natural algae growth that’s common on roofs. It can easily be cleaned off with a pressure washer.

With the home’s siding, look for rotting wood and damage done by insects and birds if it’s wood. With vinyl siding, pockmarks from hail or misshapen panels from extreme weather are telltale signs. For both, it’s easy to see siding needs replacing if it’s cracked or loose.


It’s especially important to check the plumbing in older homes, which many fixer-uppers are. When checking out a home’s pipes, the first thing most people should look for is leaking. Leaks are common, and even if they can’t be seen, mold will often grow around them and is important to keep an eye out for. Even if the fixer upper is in a great location like Litchfield Beach, plumbing shouldn't be overlooked.

Also be sure to turn on the faucet and look at the water itself. If the water is a strange color, that’s another obvious sign the plumbing is outdated. Low water and dripping can also both be signs of this as well.

Get a Second Opinion

When it comes to finding out what’s wrong with a home, there are few better for the job than a professional home inspector. While hiring a home inspector is a good idea when buying any home, they can be even more helpful when it comes to fixer-uppers because they have the training and skill necessary to see past superficial flaws and identify the less-obvious problems. A home inspector can potentially alert buyers to problems they otherwise wouldn’t know about, and that can be useful information to have before making a final decision.

Buying a fixer-upper home can be a fulfilling experience for those who are inclined, but it’s important to remember that just because it needs work doesn’t mean absolutely everything should be replaced. The more time and money you save by finding a home with property basics still intact, the more is left for the rest of the renovations.

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