Real estate business botches: The truth about fixer-uppers

Fixer-upper properties are how you make your fortune. They are to the key to your success; the route to your first million, and then all the millions after that too. Whether you’re a professional with their own commercial or domestic real estate business or an enthusiastic property amateur, you’ve likely been told that fixer-uppers are the answer to your dreams.

It’s easy to see why this is the case. Ultimately, fixer-uppers are designed to generate money, and the concept of how they do this is pleasantly simple. You buy the property for a bargain price, you renovate the property, then you sell the property on at a profit. Simple, quick, effective, key to your fortune etc. etc… and not entirely true.

Despite the gloss, the TV shows, and the expert YouTube videos that discuss how incredible fixer-uppers can be for anyone interested in a property, the truth is a little murkier. If you’re considering a venture that involves a fixer-upper property — for professional or personal reasons — then here are a few realities you’re going to want to keep in mind…

#1 – Some properties cannot be fixed

Something that doesn’t get discussed very often is the fact that some properties genuinely cannot be fixed-up. The issues they display are so severe, the only option is to tear the entire property down and start again. This can be lucrative, especially if the house is in a good area, but it’s a very different undertaking to a fixer-upper, so you have to be sure of what you’re getting into.

#2 – The renovation goes beyond the aesthetics

Even professionals can forget just how difficult renovation work can be. Most of us think “fixer-upper” and imagine a new coat of paint, a few new tiles, fresh flooring, and then the house is back on the market. This, however, is unlikely. Fixer-uppers often require non-aesthetic renovations, including complex elements such as pipelining with the likes of or complete damp-proof courses. The problems can run a lot deeper than the aesthetics, so a full structural survey is essential before you buy.

#3 – The cost and time taken for a fixer-upper project is likely to be longer than you expect

It’s nice to be an optimist; to think that the work required to get a fixer-upper back on the market is only minor. However, the reality is usually very different. Many people who buy fixer-uppers are prone to underestimating both the cost of the work and the length of time the renovation will take. To combat against this risk, follow the advice on to lay out a workable budget, and ensure the time allowed for the work is as flexible as it can possibly be. Estimated budgets and tight deadlines are unlikely to produce positive results when trying to renovate a fixer-upper.

In conclusion

Fixer-upper properties can be wonderful, but they’re not quite as wonderful and easy to deal with as some would have you believe. If you do decide to continue your venture into this kind of property having read through the above, you can be confident you’ll have a better idea of what to expect from the experience. Good luck.