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Buying a Fixer-Upper Home—Get Your Affairs in Order First

Updated on April 29, 2011

As you sit on the couch on Sundays watching home improvement shows, you may dream of buying a fixer upper and turning it into your dream home. If you know how to tile floors and remodel kitchens, then buying one of the numerous foreclosure or short sale properties on the market that need some TLC may be just up your alley. If home improvement projects are not your cup of tea, however, you should get your affairs in order first.

Create a Plan

Start with a plan. Create a plan on precisely which home improvement projects you need to tackle. Some projects need to be completed prior to moving in, while others may be pushed further down on your list. Creating a plan helps you to organize and prioritize your projects and set a budget. It also helps you to decide which projects you may be willing and able to tackle on your own, and which projects you need to hire contractors to do for you.


Divide your home improvement project list into two sections. List any of the projects that you are able to do on your own in the DIY section. Which projects you list here depends on your skill level. Generally, the average homebuyer can handle painting projects, changing ripped and damaged and window screens or changing light fixtures.

Hire Contractors

Installing new flooring, knocking out walls or remodeling the entire kitchen may be beyond your level of experience. In these cases, you should consider hiring contractors to help you complete these projects. Not only will hiring a professional save you time, but it can also save you a lot of headaches. It can even save you money because if you do it wrong and have to pay a professional to fix or complete the project, then it’s like paying twice for one project. Working from your list, start to line up the contractors you need to hire before you even close on the house.

In today’s housing market, there are plenty of fixer uppers on the market. Whether the home needs a lot of work or just a little work, creating a plan for tackling these projects is your lifesaver. First, it allows you to separate the DIY projects from those you need to hire contractors to complete. With a plan in place, you can start to line up your contractors so they can hit the ground running after closing.


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