Renovation Realities for First-Time Homebuyers
Renovation Realities for First-Time Homebuyers
Wed, September 11, 2013

Home projects aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re a first-time homebuyer, it might be helpful to have some basic fix-it skills. 

With today’s low inventory, rising home values and bidding wars that put some properties out of reach for first-time homebuyers, odds are the house in your price range will need work.

And that means it’s never been more important to keep an open mind as you begin your home search. Here are five tips for adjusting your renovation mindset as you’re looking at houses.    

• Don’t get distracted by cosmetic issues. Remember, walls can be repainted, cabinet fixtures can be updated and outdated lighting can be replaced.

• Take a handyman class. To boost those do-it-yourself skills, consider a free workshop, or seek out online tutorials. There are many to choose from at home improvement stores and online.

• Focus on the big-picture items. Is the home structurally sound? Does it need a new roof, electrical work, new windows or plumbing? A home inspection is your best source of information about these key home systems and any potentially cost-prohibitive repairs.

• Make a realistic plan. Prioritize projects based on need, cost and time. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day; your home won’t reach perfection right away either. Make a budget, and add at least a 20-percent cushion for unforeseen expenses and a lengthier timeline.

• Look into a 203k loan. Talk to your agent about a 203k loan from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). It’s specifically designed for buyers looking at fixer-uppers, and it covers the purchase price as well as a wide range of renovation costs.    

Finally, enjoy the process. Turn to your RE/MAX agent and a trusted home inspector for expert advice, then have fun making your new house a home.

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