If you are considering buying a house to renovate, whether you plan to live there or flip it, you know that finding a place worth the effort and investment is time-consuming. The good news is that you are not a pioneer in your efforts. Some have gone before you and achieved great success. Some have failed. From others, we can learn and isolate tips that are the common denominator among those who have achieved renovation success. If you want to learn how to find the perfect house to renovate, read on.
Work With An Agent
The first step you need to take when planning to buy a house to renovate is finding the right agent. You can certainly search for a home on your own, but having someone assist you with your search saves time and makes sense.
Online platforms provide consumer access far superior to what buyers had access to a decade ago, but the online inventory shown on Zillow.com or Realtor.com, for example, is incomplete. Top renovators know it’s only possible to access all homes for sale with a REALTOR. Real estate agents share information through a syndicated network called the “MLS.” Having an agent with MLS access will greatly benefit you throughout the buying process.
In addition to providing access to inventory, REALTORs can take over part of the legwork, including previewing properties for you based on their understanding of your dreams and ideas. Finally, a good real estate agent will drive the sales process from contract to close, ensuring that your deal doesn’t fall apart and helping to protect you from costly errors.
Speak to the Right Real Estate Agent
Our biggest tip when choosing an agent is to choose someone who specializes in the geographic location you’re interested in. Many agents specialize in entire cities or even counties, but what you want to find is someone who focuses on niche real estate. A great local real estate agent will know the neighborhood you want to buy in like the back of their hand, and their knowledge will be an invaluable asset to your purchase.
Think Outside the Box
Successful renovators are visionary. They can see the potential. Instead of rejecting each house because it doesn’t fit an image you have in your mind, think outside the box. An experienced renovators near me can transform your home into the space of your dreams.
Refining your vision can mean the difference between success and failure. You will only find a house that perfectly matches your vision if you build a home from scratch. However, there are many houses out there that have untapped potential.
Start by envisioning precisely what you want. No limits, no budgets, just your dream. From there, decide how you want to live in the home or how you think your target buyer (if you are building to flip) might live in the house. Is the neighborhood you plan to purchase in full of busy professionals? Adding a work-from-home station could be a valuable addition to your list of renovations. Are you remodeling a home for your future family? If so, plan for the future you envision. Keeping an open mind and being creative about what you want to achieve will go a long way toward executing a successful home renovation.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
Although it is easy to get carried away and up and over your budget, it is paramount that your budget is always top of mind. Doing this will ensure you still have money left over for renovations.
The biggest mistake most pros see when new renovators prepare a budget is that they don’t leave room for revision. Not only does your vision, as explained above, need to be able to flexibly meet your budget, but your budget needs to be flexible to create your vision. For that reason, leave room for incidentals when you make your renovation budget. This will prevent you from going into debt or having to halt your renovation projects midway, something no one wants to do.
Be Careful When Viewing Houses
It is easy to see houses only as they look when you visit them. However, the current owner’s furniture and décor choices need to be ignored. Once again, being a renovator requires being a visionary.
When viewing a home you want to rehab, try to focus on the bones, such as architectural details, general layout, and the condition of big-ticket items like the roof and HVAC system. On that note, while most HGTV projects live and die with opening spaces up, not all walls can be knocked down. Some walls are needed for structural support, while others might be hiding wires and plumbing, which are costly to move.
Finally, when viewing a house, ask a lot of questions and get a survey done, or else you may find that too much of your money goes toward repairs and fixing issues rather than transforming the house into the home you want it to be.
Find Run Down Properties
Many people who intend on rehabbing a house focus on finding run-down properties that they can tear down to the studs and build up from there, especially if they have somewhere else to live during the first few months of the renovation. Usually, opening yourself up to a run-down place is where you can find the best deals, but run-downs also require larger renovation budgets.
If that sounds like a fair tradeoff to you, don’t let a little dirt deter you from a home that has seen better days. For that home, its best days are ahead, and you may be the person to carry the property into its very loving and hopefully profitable future.