What's your opinion on buying very "lived in" homes?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ September 30, 2013 ~ No Comments

I was thinking about buying a house in Boulder, CO on the Hill. Can you tell me if it's likely to need massive demo in the kitchen and bathroom areas? I recall those houses being quite "lived" in.


Jeffrey Anderson

Michael, I don't know anything about the various neighborhoods in Boulder or the state of the city's real estate market. However, I do know that unless someone has a lot of home building or remodeling experience, they should always hire a home inspector when considering the purchase of a very "lived in" house. That's a good rule to follow regardless of where the home might be located.

A private home inspector can give let you know what condition all of the home's major operating systems are in as well as the structural components of the house. While you might be concerned about the kitchen and bathrooms, it's possible the HVAC units could need replacement or the foundation is failing.

Basically, what any buyer needs to know prior to buying what might be considered a "fixer upper" home is how much it might cost for renovations. When those numbers are added to the purchase price, is the house going to be a good investment?

There are also a few other factors that should be added in such as the approximate value of comparable homes in the area and whether the house is located in a desirable neighborhood. Even if you're getting a good deal now, it might not seem like such a bargain if home values in the neighborhood begin going down.

Whether buying a very "lived in" house is a good idea might also depend on your skills as a DIYer. If you're planning on living in the house for a while, over time you may be able to do a lot of the renovations or repairs yourself if you're handy with tools. It might be possible to lower the remodeling costs if you don't need to hire contractors for every project. Of course, some repairs almost always require a contractor's expertise regardless of your DIY skill level and a few of those tasks can be found in the areas you mention: the kitchen and bathrooms.

Licensed plumbing and electrical contractors should handle all water line and wiring issues in a "fixer upper" house and DIYers shouldn't even consider doing any work on gas lines. These are all areas where if the work is done improperly, costly repairs could result in a house beyond the stage where it can be "fixed up."

In short, the answer to your question is that a very "lived in" house can be a good buy if you go into the purchase with a fairly accurate idea of how much its renovation could cost.

No Responses to “What's your opinion on buying very "lived in" homes?”