Four tips to prepare you for the process of buying a fixer-upper.

If you budget your renovations properly, you can get a steal of a deal on a rundown house and customize the home in almost any way you like. Today I want to provide you with some tips about purchasing a fixer-upper in the Seattle area so that you can be prepared:

1. Check the zoning. This isn’t a glamorous process, and you rarely see it on TV, but zoning can go a long way in determining what is and isn’t permitted to do to a property. Zoning varies by country, and you can research your county’s requirements on their websites or arrange to meet with a staffer.

2. Get a home inspection. Cosmetic issues like avocado green bathroom tile and disco-era dark cabinets are easy to spot, of course, but an inspection will help you learn about behind-the-scenes issues like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. Older homes might not be up to code in terms of their electrical systems, for example, or could have dangerous materials like asbestos and lead in them.

“TV shows almost always gloss over some of the most stressful parts of buying a fixer-upper.”

3. Bring in an architect or contractor. Many buyers of fixer-uppers want to make big changes like removing a wall to get an open concept, adding a bathroom, or building a walk-in closet. An architect can help you determine which walls are load-bearing and will cost more to remove. They can also help you with design elements. When it comes to contractors, do your homework; the cheapest is rarely the best option. A good contractor can give you an honest estimate for all of your projects and will stay on schedule.

4. Look into tax incentives. Depending on your area, you may be eligible for tax abatement or credit for improving your property’s value. Do your homework.

A fixer-upper can be a long and stressful project, but if you have the resources, patience, and research, you can find yourself in your own custom dream home that has a good amount of instant equity.

If you’re thinking of buying a fixer-upper or if you have any questions, feel free to give me a call or send an email. I’d be happy to sit down with you and talk about the process in more detail.