Fixer-upper homes can be very tempting to people looking to buy a new home. Especially in a city like Seattle, known for having an incredibly competitive housing market. Fixer-uppers tend to be overall quite cheap to buy, even in Seattle’s housing market. However, these properties can also be a money sink, if you don’t know how to approach them. After all, you’ll be responsible for fixing up the property, and this can get extremely expensive very quickly. So, how do you buy one of these properties without getting caught in a trap? With a little bit of research and preparation, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. In order to help you out with this, we put together a guide to buying a fixer upper house in Seattle, and we hope you find it helpful.
Get the house inspected before anything else
The first step to buying a fixer-upper house in Seattle is to get it inspected by a professional. Before you decide whether you want the home or not, you need to be aware of all of the repairs the property needs. This is because a home inspection might set you back a couple of hundred dollars, but hidden problems can cost you thousands. For example, the last thing you want is to start renovating, then find rot in the drywall. With particularly old homes, which are a common sight in Seattle, you might even find asbestos on the property. So, before you commit to a property, make sure to get it thoroughly inspected. And when it comes to renovations, keep an eye out for bathroom renovation mistakes. Mistakes with bathroom renovations are the most common, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you get started with the renovations.
Figure out your exact budget
One of the biggest reasons for buying a fixer-upper house in Seattle is because they’re cheap. Even in Seattle’s extremely competitive housing market, fixer-upper properties are affordable. However, when thinking about the budget for your purchase, remember that you have to factor in the repair costs. Sure, the initial cost is much lower, but you need to consider how much you’d be willing to pay to fix the house up. So, when looking at the prices of fixer-upper properties, we recommend adding at least a quarter of the price on top for repairs. Depending on the types of repairs needed, you might even need to pay more. For example, when it comes to roof repairs, you’ll need to get professional help for everything except the smallest issues. And even if the issue isn’t that bad, you should keep it in mind for the future, as these things tend to escalate.
Try to estimate how much the renovations will cost
Even when you have a budget in mind, when you spot a potential property, you should try to determine how much the repairs will cost. This is where the home inspection from before will come in very handy. Once you have the full list of needed repairs, research how much each fix will cost. We recommend relying on professionals as much as possible, especially when it comes to big repairs. Also, when you figure out the price, be ready to go over budget. It’s an unfortunate fact that more issues might crop up while the repairs are ongoing. So, be ready for extra repairs and going over budget. And when moving into your new home, experts from Hansen Bros. Moving and Storage Seattle recommend only trusting local experts. After all, the last thing you want is to damage the property after renovating it, and local movers are the safest choice.
Work out what you can renovate yourself
While we recommend working with experts as much as possible, it’s undeniable that DIY renovations are significantly cheaper. As such, figuring out which repairs you can do yourself can help save you a lot of money in the long run. However, we should note that you should avoid doing any major repairs yourself. For example, roof repairs, electrical, repairs, plumbing, and so on. With smaller issues, with plumbing, for example, you’ll likely be fine, as long as you follow tips from professional plumbers. However, anything that could cause serious problems in the future you should leave to the experts. Remember, even the tiniest issue can escalate into something that can seriously damage the house. These escalated issues often cost significantly more to repair than small problems, so it’s best to avoid risking them. Thinking about the long term is just as important as getting the home fixed quickly, after all.
Look into whether or not you need a permit
Certain renovations require permits before you can do them. In Seattle, you’ll need a permit for window installations, structural work, room additions, plumbing and electrical work, and a few other things. So, before you buy the fixer-upper, have a look at whether or not you’ll need a permit to get it fixed up. Getting a permit is a long and complicated process, and sometimes it might not be worth it to get a permit for a fixer-upper. This is because, depending on the scope of the renovations, you’ll also need to provide plans for the work that’s going to be done. As such, our recommendation is that if the home needs a lot of work done with a permit, you’ll likely be better off looking for a property elsewhere. You can find information about required permits and how to get them online, so don’t avoid doing the research.
Guide to buying a fixer-upper house in Seattle – closing thoughts
Due to their massively discounted price, fixer-uppers can be extremely tempting to homebuyers. Especially in a city like Seattle, a cheap house can seem like a one-of-a-kind deal. However, you need to be very careful when considering a fixer-upper. These homes usually have all sorts of hidden issues and you’ll need to think about fixing all of them before living in the property. We hope this guide to buying a fixer-upper house in Seattle helps you out, and we wish you a good day.