Finding Your Fixer Upper

Posted July 26, 2021 in Special Features

If you have been following the last two week’s articles about helping buyers find homes in this post-pandemic time, this week’s article is about how Americans are changing the way they buy as well as how they sell their homes. The sellers that I help are served through the opportunities and challenges of selling a fixer-upper that I assist. Buyers are served by finding a home that can be renovated within a predetermined budget.

A recent survey taken by TD Bank substantiated the way I’m helping people with my real estate and design experience. Indeed, over 70 percent of those looking for a first home have let go of the idea to find a move-in ready home; however, with my buy and sell program, that
isn’t something to worry about.

Of course, there is a third set of buyers and sellers that I encounter along the way. This group includes those that buy or sell a fixer-upper and enter the process by themselves. Dealing with contractors and that something that does not go as planned has added to those I’m helping now. In some cases, these buyers of such homes become the sellers of the house they tried to remodel themselves. The sellers then buy something with my assistance that I can help them better turn into the dream home they have in mind.

I have added Angie Stillman to the team working with me. Angie is helping on the financial side of the opportunities and challenges. When you don’t have someone on your team for this purpose, the homeowner is often working with his or her own resources. Off and on, there have been a few mortgage programs for first time homeowners to borrow money to help with these fixer-upper costs; however, through the pandemic, those monies were not as easily accessed as prior to the pandemic. Some do-it-yourself homeowners tell me that they have used credit cards to try to get the house to a point to qualify for a home equity loan to finish.

To start the process of getting involved with a fixer upper, it is important to have the inspection team and the design team together as a part of the process of finding or selling a home. This helps to better discover the options as well as the budget that might serve the goals for the home. There are always issues that present themselves that are behind the walls, so I include an allowance in the budget for that.

Costs for renovations can be so varied. What I find most difficult for those who are going to be living in the home that we are going to renovate is deciding the options. I like to have everything on a spreadsheet so that if we add costs to one area, we can decide how to adjust the reduced costs to another area.

Changing your expectations about how to approach this market of soaring prices, lack of inventory and special challenges does require some professional help in my opinion. According to the National Association of Realtors, home prices rose 23.6 percent between May of last year and May of this year.

For buyers who are frustrated with the difficulties of today’s market, I encourage people to interview the professionals they hire. Does the professional have a team? Who is on the team?

What is most important I find is the coordination and design of the updates to the home so that the home presents as organized, clean and functional. Deciding how you accomplish that as a buyer or as a seller is part design and part experience on the part of your agent.

Call me at 360.635.1121 or email to learn more about how my concierge real estate listings could help you. The experience I bring is the difference in how you will buy or sell your home.