“A blank canvas”. “Limitless opportunity”. “A DIY enthusiast’s dream”. In real estate listing copy, there are a number of different ways to describe a property that’s going to need a lot of work.

For some people, a property that’s a little run-down might represent a world of opportunities, but for others, it spells nothing but long, hard work. So, before you take on that new project, you need to work out which of these two camps you fall into.

All of the main elements you need to consider when buying a fixer-upper fit under 3 main categories. If you want to make the best possible decision for your circumstances, it’s crucial you understand them before moving forward.

They Have Huge Amounts of Character

By definition, a property that’s going to need work is usually going to be older. As a result, there’s a good chance it’s going to come with a fair dose of character.

Homes of a certain period are near impossible to accurately replicate – they can only be reproduced. So, an older property with a stunning veranda or stained-glass windows is something that’s definitely worth refurbishing. For all the hard work required, that’s reward enough.

However, older properties are also likely to carry restrictions on what you can and can’t do to them. If it’s a heritage property, you might need to source original materials for your refurbishment and renovations, which can add thousands onto your bill. As a result, before buying a fixer-upper, you should understand the restrictions you could face.

Affordability is Double-Edged

Within a suburb, older properties are likely going to be more affordable than newer ones, making them a great entry point for buyers watching their budgets. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind a slightly dated kitchen or aged paintwork, they’re going to be a small price to pay for the financial savings you’ll make.

However, getting a fixer-upper ready to be lived in in the long-term can also cost you a great deal of money. Whilst you can make do with any cosmetic issues, deeper problems such as subsidence or damp in the walls will set you back a large lump sum. So, it’s highly recommended that you conduct a full building inspection that addresses all of these issues. With this information in hand, you’ll be able to make an educated decision as to whether the property is right for you.

Understand the Logistics

Cosmetic upgrades can usually take place whilst you’re in the home. If you need to make larger repairs, however, you’ll likely need to source another place to live. These are hidden costs that you could well forget to factor into your budget.

If you’re buying a character or period property, there’s every chance you’ll need to hire specialists to conduct the renovations, and they don’t come cheap. This might be a daunting process, especially if you haven’t conducted extensive renovations before. The stress of this can usually be mitigated by hiring a project manager, but you need to carefully consider whether you’re willing to oversee a project of this scale.

If you’ve got the time and money to work through the issues that fixer-upper properties present, however, it’s likely to be an incredibly satisfying and rewarding process. If you’re taking out the interior, it gives you the opportunity to build the home of your dreams whilst still preserving the initial atmosphere, appearance and character of the property.

Overall, a fixer-upper can present you with an incredible chance to tailor a home to your requirements. As long as you go into it with a firm understanding of the work that’s ahead, keep an eye on your budget and manage the renovation effectively, it could be one of the best decisions you ever make.

The information and links provided on this website are for general information only and should not be taken as constituting professional advice. This information does not take into account the financial situation or particular needs of individual readers. Before making any decisions about matters discussed on this website, you should consider whether it is suitable for you in light of your own circumstances, and seek appropriate advice.