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Investing and Saving by Buying a Fixer Upper Home

Updated on August 31, 2014
Working on your own home can save you money over time.  Take all things into consideration though, especially your safety when using ladders.
Working on your own home can save you money over time. Take all things into consideration though, especially your safety when using ladders.

Is a Fixer Upper in your future?

Buying a fixer upper home is a great way to save money and cut costs. It isn't for everyone, but may help some people to get into a home and also be a creative outlet and learning experience to test your skills perhaps. People buy fixer uppers for all kinds of reasons and there are some good things to keep in mind if you are considering moving forward.

Backing up, a fixer upper is basically a home or other property that is in less than perfect condition. The degrees can vary widely, and you of course want to be careful of not buying a money pit, if that is something you want to avoid like I know I would! The thing is, you can sometimes get into a place for a significantly reduced price by buying a fixer upper, then go about fixing it at your own pace. They come in all shapes and sizes as well. You can find single family detached homes, a duplex, condo, or a townhouse and more.

There can be cosmetic fixer uppers or places that are in need of tearing down. So do your research to find out all you can before buying. You need to determine how soon you can get the property into a satisfactory living condition.

People might buy a fixer upper to have a creative outlet as they enjoy that kind of thing. Some enjoy the process of giving the home a personal touch. Some do it to just save the money initially and plan to fix it over time. You can't deny that it is a great idea for the person that enjoys being a handyman or woman. There is a lot of great personal satisfaction that can come from fixing up your own place. It creates a great sense of accomplishment.

I think a great side benefit is to the community in which the person is investing into the home. The surrounding neighborhood is benefited really and often a house can be saved altogether by people's efforts. I can't be the only one that hates seeing neat old homes, especially period and historical homes going by the wayside because of lack of interest, funds and efforts put into the saving of it. Many of us live in communities today that have the added benefit of being able to see some historical homes or landmarks because people or the city took an interest in it to save it.

Damaged Home from Hurricane

Damaged Home from Hurricane Ivan.  Sometimes you can fix things up yourself, but sometimes the job may need more serious help.
Damaged Home from Hurricane Ivan. Sometimes you can fix things up yourself, but sometimes the job may need more serious help.

What kinds of repairs need to be done?

Some people consider a fixer upper a place that needs to be repainted, landscaping changes, replacing the carpeting, baseboards, etc. These add much in aesthetics to the home, and the work isn't that expensive very often.

If you need to do more extensive repairs, which is more often the case, like structural issues for instance, you may not be able to even live in the fixer upper until you do those things first. If it is just cosmetic issues, then you can easily live in the house while working on it.

The key is to know how extensive the problems you are looking at. If it is things like the need for a new foundation, roof, plumbing system, or electrical system, then the costs are going to be great and your initial savings may not be worth all the extra cost now.


Before making your final decision to purchase, it is probably wise to have your contractor come by and do a thorough looking over of things. Talk about what could be estimated in cost to fix this home up, and put that number against the price of the home. You are looking for a general overall cost of everything, so you can make the wisest decision. Compare this price to other homes in the area that are not fixer uppers. Of course take into consideration your temporary housing costs if you should need to stay elsewhere while the home is being worked on.

Did you know that some banks offer a special mortgage for a combined repair/purchase mortgage for just these situations? So that is something to look into as well that may help save money overall.

By investing one's personal skills, time and money you can have a beautiful home to enjoy for many years to come, or sell to make extra money.

Would you ever consider investing in a "fixer upper" home?

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    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Stephanie, thank you very much! I tend to agree with all you say there, and for us, part of the key is "if" you can do the work yourself, or if you can learn it at least. Then it can be doable, and exciting to save money and learn new things at the same time. I have seen some amazing things that people have done, and I know it has to be very rewarding to do that! So glad you stopped by.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 7 years ago from USA

      Nice Hub, Oceansnsunsets! Buying a fixer upper is a great way for young families to afford a house. If they can do the work themselves, it's a great learning experience for adults as well as children in the family who are able to help and learn the joys of being able to do things for yourself.