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Buying a house is arguably the most expensive purchase most people will make in their lives. With real estate prices steadily rising year after year, many Americans are finding ways to save on housing.

At the same time, rent prices too are increasing, especially around metro areas where many young Americans are entering the workforce. With costs rising and wages stagnating, it can be hard to find an affordable place to live while still building equity that can be used later on down the road.

One option that many Americans are considering is the fixer-upper route. However, it takes know-how and a lot of hard work to make this method a good choice to save you money. In this article, we’ll tell you how to make certain buying a fixer upper is a good idea and what costs you can expect along the way.

Adding up the costs

Buying a house that needs work means you’ll need to spend a good amount of time calculating costs and getting quotes from professionals. Even if you’re familiar with several home maintenance tasks, there are some jobs that are safer if left to the pros. This isn’t only a matter of physical safety, however. If you start a job that you aren’t qualified to finish you could end up paying much more than if you had just hired a licensed professional to do the job in the first place.

When estimating costs for reparations and renovations, aim high. It’s better to plan for it to be more expensive and have more left over than to underestimate your projects and go over budget.

Get an inspection report

If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to go through with a deal, make sure you have an inspection contingency clause in your contract. This will enable you to back out if the home inspector makes you aware of any costs that you weren’t told about by the seller.

Don’t forget added costs

There are several closing costs you’ll be responsible for as a buyer. Make sure you keep tabs on how much you can expect to spend closing on the home. If you’re going through a mortgage lender, they are required to give you an estimate of closing costs.

Once you know the purchase price of the home and the closing costs, make sure you account for other aspects of your renovations, such as getting required permits.

Borrow wisely

If you do plan on taking out a loan to cover the cost of renovations, be smart with how you get and pay back that money. One option is the FHA 203(k) loan or renovation loan.

Renovation loans help you save on closing costs and simplify the lending process by giving you one loan that accounts for the cost of the renovations and of the home itself.


If you find your dream house, you likely want to submit an offer to purchase this residence as soon as possible. That way, you can avoid the danger of losing your ideal residence to a rival homebuyer.

Although you may strive to quickly submit an offer to purchase your dream residence, it is important to allocate sufficient time to craft a competitive homebuying proposal. Ultimately, there are many reasons to be diligent as you prepare an offer to purchase, and these include:

1. You can avoid the risk of overpaying to acquire your dream house.

You want to buy your dream house, but at the same time, you don't want to pay too much for it. Fortunately, if you allocate time and resources to learn about a home's condition and the current state of the real estate market, you may be better equipped than ever before to submit a competitive offer to purchase.

Analyze a house's condition closely as you put together a property buying proposal. It often is beneficial to consider any potential home improvement projects as well.

Also, take a look at the prices of comparable houses in the same city or town as your dream residence. With this housing market data in hand, you can establish a price range for homes that are similar to your dream residence. Then, you can submit an offer to purchase that accounts for the present state of the housing market.

2. You can submit an offer to purchase that falls in line with a seller's expectations.

It usually is beneficial to consider the seller's perspective as you put together an offer to purchase. By doing so, you can craft a homebuying proposal that falls in line with a seller's expectations.

If you think about the seller's perspective, you may be able to avoid submitting a "lowball" offer to purchase. Because if you understand how a seller may perceive your homebuying proposal, you can submit a competitive offer to purchase that likely will make a positive impression on him or her.

3. You can increase the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a seller.

With a competitive offer to purchase, a seller may respond with an instant "Yes." As a result, if you craft a competitive homebuying proposal, you may be able to move forward with a home purchase and quickly acquire your dream residence.

As you navigate the real estate market and prepare an offer to purchase your dream house, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer honest, unbiased recommendations about how much you should offer to pay for a residence. And if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase too.

Ready to make your homeownership dream come true? Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can get the help you need to find your dream home and submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.


The definition of a "dream house" varies from homebuyer to homebuyer. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to determine if a residence is right for you.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you evaluate a home so you can decide whether to proceed with an offer to purchase.

1. Review a Home's Features

Think about why you are searching for a home and what you want to find in a house. For example, if you require a home that features a deluxe kitchen, you can narrow your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you want a home that boasts an above-ground swimming pool, you can focus on houses that offer this amenity.

Consider where you want to reside too. That way, you can hone your home search to a select group of cities and towns and find a residence that is located in one of your preferred locations.

2. Examine a Home's Price

The cost of a home depends on a number of factors, including the residence's age and condition. Of course, the housing market itself plays an important role in a house's cost as well, so you'll want to examine the real estate sector closely. By doing so, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market – or vice-versa – and determine if a home's price falls within your budget.

In a buyer's market, there may be an abundance of quality houses available at budget-friendly prices. If you shop for a home in a buyer's market, you may be able to purchase a house at or below a seller's initial asking price.

Comparatively, in a seller's market, there is a shortage of premium houses, and top-notch homes that become available may be in high demand. In a seller's market, you may need to act fast to acquire your dream home. Plus, you may need to submit an offer to purchase that exceeds a seller's initial asking price so you can purchase your ideal residence without delay.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a home selling expert, and he or she is happy to help you weigh the pros and cons of buying a house. In fact, a real estate agent will go the extra mile to ensure you can make the best-possible decisions throughout the property buying journey.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive lots of support so you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience. A real estate agent first will learn about you and your homebuying goals and help you search for a residence that matches your expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. And if your homebuying proposal is approved, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble deciding if a house is right for you.


If you plan to buy a house and want to achieve the optimal results, you should perform a home inspection. In fact, there are many reasons why you should allocate significant time and resources to conduct an in-depth house inspection, and these include:

1. You can gain unprecedented insights into a home's condition.

Although you might have fallen in love with a house when you first saw it, a home inspection may make you rethink your decision to purchase a residence. To better understand why this may be the case, let's consider an example.

If you conduct a home inspection and discover a wide range of problems with a house, you have a tough choice to make. In this scenario, you can continue with a home purchase as planned. Or, you may be able to make a viable argument that a seller should perform assorted house repairs or reduce his or her sale price based on the inspection results.

Ultimately, a home inspection provides you with insights that you may struggle to gain anywhere else. And if you perform an extensive home inspection, you may reap the benefits of this evaluation for years to come.

2. You can avoid the risk of paying too much to acquire your ideal residence.

As a homebuyer, it is important to do everything possible to get the best price on a house. But even if you conduct real estate market research, you risk spending too much on a house if you ignore a home inspection.

With a house inspection, you can learn about various home problems, along with the costs associated with such issues. Then, you can use this information to determine whether your initial offer is sufficient, or whether you should request a reduced home price based on a residence's condition.

3. You can limit the possibility of costly home repairs.

Thanks to a home inspection, you can identify home issues that otherwise may lead to costly repairs down the line. You then can use this information to decide whether you can complete myriad home repairs on your own, or whether professional support is needed to perform house improvements. And if you are overwhelmed by the costs associated with many potential home repairs, you can always walk away from a home sale at this time.

Clearly, there are many reasons to perform a home inspection before you finalize a house purchase. If you hire an expert real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support as you prepare for a home inspection too.

A real estate agent is happy to put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. Plus, a real estate agent will attend a home inspection with you and is ready to provide guidance throughout the evaluation. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can meet with you after a house inspection, go over the inspection results with you and help you make an informed decision about whether to proceed with a home purchase.


The more you know about the process of buying a house, the better prepared you'll be for doing it successfully.

How might you define "success" when it comes to purchasing a home?

There are a lot of standards that could be applied to successfully navigating the home buying process, but here are a few that immediately come to mind:

  • Finding the house of your dreams: While very few people find a home that is absolutely perfect in every way, it is possible to come close to achieving that ideal. Although a certain amount of flexibility goes a long way, knowing what you want and prioritizing important features are among the main prerequisites to getting what you want. As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." Thanks to the variety of websites devoted to home ownership, home decorating, remodeling, and landscaping, it's easy to find pictures online that can help inspire your imagination and clarify exactly what the house of your dreams might look like.
  • Minimizing setbacks and frustrations: The process of house hunting is a journey that often involves bumpy roads, detours, and dead ends. One secret to getting through it successfully is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the ropes and can keep you on track. It also helps to approach house hunting with a sense of optimism, resourcefulness, and commitment. Although you probably have a lot of competing priorities in your life, finding a house that you and your family will be happy in for the next few years deserves a top spot on your list!
  • Avoiding unpleasant surprises: Knowing your credit score and understanding the impact it will have on getting loan approval and a favorable interest rate will help prepare you for the financial side of buying a house. The ability to get prequalified for a mortgage and come up with sufficient down payment will also set the stage for a successful home buying experience. On the plus side, a higher down payment can potentially result in a lower interest rate and not having to pay private mortgage insurance (A 20% down payment is necessary to avoid PMI.) Since many loan programs and lenders require at least a 3-5% down payment, that can be a stumbling block for first-time home buyers. To purchase a $200,000 home, for example, you'd need to come up with a cash outlay of between $6,000 to $10,000 -- not an easy feat for everyone!
If coming up with a sufficient down payment is an issue for you, your real estate agent or loan officer can work with you to brainstorm possible solutions and alternative strategies. For some first-time home buyers, the best plan is to postpone your house buying plans for a couple years until you can improve your credit score and set aside several thousand dollars for a down payment.



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