How to Find the Best Fixer Upper to Remodel

Hilary FarrRenovation0 Comments

A row of colorful houses in Washington DC.

A row of colorful houses in Washington DC.

You most likely know that I have a passion for real estate, and finding homes to renovate can be one of the best parts of the business. But if you don’t know where to look or how to find these properties, it can get really overwhelming and discouraging. That’s why I decided to put together a list of a few of the best tips I have used to find the best homes to renovate.

Get to Know the Older Neighborhoods

First of all, you’re obviously not going to find a fixer upper house in one of those brand-new developments that you see popping up all over the place, so you can mark those off the list immediately. Now that you know which subdivisions in your area you can skip entirely, you’ll need to figure out where you can actually look.

If you want to renovate locally (which I certainly recommend; traveling for a renovation comes with details and stresses that is easier not to worry about), then drive around for a few hours. If you’re not sure where to drive, check online first. Look up the older neighborhoods in surrounding towns and cities. These are the areas where you’re most likely to find fixer upper houses that are still standing and need some love.

Once you have a few areas picked out, it’s time to start doing some research. Spend some time online and in person getting to know the areas where you want to renovate homes. Some of these properties may not be listed on the MLS yet, but if you get familiar with them, you can look up their owners at the local tax office. Then you can make an offer, and you might just be on your way to a great remodeling project.

Keep a Close Eye on the MLS

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I recommend checking the MLS daily. New listings are always popping up, and you certainly don’t want to miss catching a great deal on a beautiful fixer upper.

Be Realistic About Your Renovations

Once you find a house that you think you want to remodel, I want to encourage you to be as realistic about it as possible. Look at what it’s going to cost to completely renovate it versus what it would cost to simply update it, and think about what you really want to do with it. If you want to make a profit on it, you’ll have to keep a close eye on your budget, so never hesitate to have a contractor walk through the property with you and give you a rough estimate of what it’s going to cost before you make an offer. If the remodeling work is going to put you over budget, I’d recommend searching for another property.

As you know, I love to work on a lot of my renovations. However, it can also take more time to do it by yourself, and you can easily get in over your head with some projects. So always keep the math in mind.

If you follow my tips, you won’t have any problem finding the perfect renovation property to fix up. Good luck!

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