My wife and I are considering purchasing a house that is need of interior and exterior repairs, but we are unsure of the cost to complete these repairs. The home's below market price reflects its degraded condition, so it could be a perfect fixer upper/investment. Will a contractor give a work estimate on a house we don't even own yet?
Dan ~ Johnstown, PA
Dan, I am sure that you can locate a local contractor in the Johnstown area who would be willing to offer you some help when determining the cost of the needed house repairs. Obviously, you should be upfront with any prospective contractor and let them know that at this point you do not own the home. Likewise, you should gather several estimates for the remodeling project so that you can ensure the best price possible and keep the project on a tight budget. All too often, homeowners get in over their head with a fixer-upper, having not fully investigated the extent of a home's disrepair prior to purchasing the property.
One option for you to consider is to put an offer in on the home that is contingent upon a property inspection during a due diligence period, during which time you could carefully examine the home and discover the accurate cost to complete the needed repairs. The benefit to this strategy is that you can first come to terms with the home's seller prior to spending hours of your time pricing out the remodel. Keep in mind that it can take a few weeks to get a clear picture of a home's remodeling costs, but often times a great real estate deal will only be around for a few days.
If you do not have much experience with this type of real estate investment, then you should definitely work with an experienced contractor who can evaluate the home's true condition and offer you accurate remodeling costs. Although the best investments usually require some level of risk, keep in mind a few big ticket items can really drive up the cost of remodeling a fixer-upper. Good luck!