What to Look for When Buying a Fixer Upper Home

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If you’re a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ hit HGTV show Fixer Upper, you might be interested in buying a home of your own to renovate. But what should you know about making a purchase like this? Here’s what to look for when buying a fixer-upper.


Where you buy your home matters. The right location will make it easier for you when you decide to sell. Most homebuyers desire a house near shops, good schools, and restaurants. When popular retailers move into a neighborhood, other businesses usually follow, and buyers are aware of this. Home buyers are especially attracted to homes near coffee shops.

Zillow found a home’s proximity to Starbucks could make a big difference in whether a home sold. “Over 17 years tabulated by Zillow, leading up to 2014, homes adjacent to the local Starbucks almost doubled in value, up by 96%. Those further out appreciated by 65% over the same period,” reports Money magazine.

Curb appeal

Although the popular saying is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, lots of people do this when it comes to homes. Find a house that is attractive enough from the outside to draw in potential buyers. The home likely won’t look great when you first see it (it is a fixer-upper after all), but you should be able to see the potential for excellent curb appeal once renovations are complete.

Outdoor space

If you’re planning to sell your fixer-upper, you’ll want to pay attention to details like outdoor space. Many buyers are seeking properties with an outdoor area where they can gather with friends and family or just enjoy the weather. There’s nothing like a place outdoors to call your own. During the design phase, you can add elements such as plants, patio furniture, and even an outdoor kitchen (depending on your budget).


Make sure you pick a home that has an attractive layout and flows well from room to room. Potential home buyers will be looking for large kitchens and bathrooms and large windows. Unless you want to do extensive renovation, it’s best to skip homes with very small bathrooms and kitchens, for example. When you purchase a home with the most desirable features already in place, it means less work for you.

Overall condition

A fixer-upper might look good to you at first glance, but closer inspection could reveal a ton of problems. Find out what condition the home is in and if you’re willing and able to make the necessary upgrades. You can accomplish this by hiring a licensed home inspector. Your real estate agent can help you decide which renovations to focus on first.

If the home has major structural issues you might want to reconsider the purchase. You could end up spending a lot of money without a return on your investment.

A solid roof

What condition is the roof in? Does it need to be repaired or replaced? You’ll want to know how the roof is holding up because a roof replacement can be costly. You can expect to spend anywhere from $4,100 to more than $14,000, according to Angie’s List.

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