Picking a fixer-upper home is a process that could have many pitfalls. Know what to look for to ensure a successful renovation and return!

Moving into a pre-owned home can be a lot of work on its own when you factor in any changes you may want to make before you completely settle in. Fixer-uppers come with even more of a need for a complete overhaul. Flipping homes could be a hobby, or it could be a one-time occasion if you’re presented with the right price at the right time. Either way, it’s good to know what to look for in a fixer-upper property so you’ll have strong bones on your hands to work with. Focus on having the home work functionally – the aesthetics of the property are what can be easily “fixed-up” from there on.


1. Location

Before even considering if the contents of a property constitute as something you can work with, make sure you fixer-upper is located in a good area. Unlike an unsightly rug, you won’t be able to tear the home out of its location quite so easily. Check with a real estate agent for up-and-coming neighbourhoods, and do your own research to see which areas are experiencing growth. A typical sign of a growing neighbourhood is when it has many families with young children, and has schools in the area.

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2. Sturdy Foundation & Structural Elements

Repairing structural damage and foundational damage can be very expensive and often won’t yield you a decent return on investment since the effort is overlooked as a “feature” of the property. Have a qualified home inspector (even better, one with experience in inspecting fixer-uppers) check out the structure of your prospective property to ensure it has strong bones to build around.



3. Good Wiring & Plumbing

Finding a property with fairly decent electrical wiring and plumbing will save you stress in your renovation. A major overhaul of these functional systems can be costly, and, like foundation repairs, not immediately perceived as an improvement that will give the property more value. If there are small repairs that need to be done, this could be something to work with. However, do not assume these issues are “small” until a qualified home inspector deems them as so. A seemingly small repair could have a domino-effect into several other repairs, and next thing you know, you could be replacing the entire system!



4. The Right “Flow”

All homes have a flow of traffic, and should have a logical configuration (for example, multiple bedrooms close together so parents and children can be near each other just in case). Trying to reconfigure a home involves demolishing walls, which could lead to a whole slew of other projects like rewiring electrical outlets, installing doors, and redoing baseboards to match the rest of the home. Try your best to find a property that has a “flow” you can work with.



5. Beautiful Millwork

A lot of older homes have millwork (or wooden finishes) that have aged beautifully with time. Wooden floors, panelling, cabinetry, and doors are all great signs in a fixer-upper if they are in good condition. If they are looking a bit worn out, a good polishing or stain could do the trick to revitalize their beauty.



6. Opportunities for Easy Cosmetic Improvements

It is a good sign if you find a home with evidence of easy ways to transform a space cosmetically. Here are a few examples of cosmetic improvements for fixer-uppers that are easy ways to boost the value of the property:

  • Replacing old carpeting
  • Giving unappealing walls a new coat of paint, or trimmings
  • Replacing outdated light fixtures
  • Painting grubby exterior walls and window trims
  • Repairing drywall
  • Installing new window coverings (eg. shutters)



Have you ever purchased a fixer-upper? Share your own tips for selecting the optimal property below!

The Greater Toronto Builders team has a network of professionals to take care of your project from concept to completion. Contact us today hear more about how our project design consultants can help you or to book a free consultation contact us at 647 35 BUILD or email us at hello@greatertorontobuilders.com

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Image Sources:

Feature Image http://canvasstyle.blogspot.ca/2014/07/slightly-obsessed-fixer-upper.html 

1. Location

  • http://www.torontorealestateboard.com/buying/district_map/regions/toronto/

2. Sturdy Foundation & Structural Elements

  • http://www.remodeling-sanantonio.com/frequently-asked-questions/diagram-of-house/
  • http://uglyhousephotos.com/wordpress/?p=10315
  • http://uglyhousephotos.com/wordpress/?cat=120

3. Good Wiring & Plumbing

  • http://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/threaded-shower-valve-joint-slow-leak.47828/
  • http://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/21326/is-a-ground-required-when-replacing-an-old-single-pole-single-throw-switch

4. The Right “Flow”

  • https://museumdoctor.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/upstairs-at-the-old-kentucky-home-interpretation-booklet/
  • http://www.pinoyeplans.com/listing/modern-housedesign-2012007/

5. Beautiful Millwork

  • http://upstater.com/car-free-upstate-washingtonville-fixer-upper-89850/
  • http://www.houzz.com/discussions/427421/just-bought-a-fixer-upper-need-diy-low-cost-ideas-to-freshen-it-up

6. Opportunities for Easy Cosmetic Improvements

  • http://uglyhousephotos.com/wordpress/?cat=5&paged=3
  • http://www.thewoodgraincottage.com/2014/05/24/demolition-at-the-fixer-upper/
  • http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/diy-oil-rubbed-bronze/
  • https://charlieandjo.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/painting-the-exterior-trim/
  • http://nineappletrees.com/category/drywall/
  • http://myrtlebeachshuttersandblinds.com/myrtle-beach-window-treatment/windows-can-derail-the-sale-of-a-house/
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