Should you buy a fixer-upper home?

If you are willing to put in the time and effort, buying a fixer-upper is always an option. These homes are not in the best conditions, but they have potential.

By Homicity

Oct 18, 2018

Should you buy a fixer-upper home?

As a first-time home buyer, you want a home that fulfills every need and has everything you want. But sometimes your first home will not be your dream home. Realistically, it doesn't have to be perfect - yet.

If you are willing to put in the time and effort, buying a fixer-upper is always an option. These homes are not in the best conditions, but they have potential. You acquire older homes for less and do some home improvements to make seem brand-new. Major renovations or luckily just some polishing are necessary to transform the property nobody wanted into a home.

Here is what you should know about buying a fixer-upper first home:


Choose the right property

The first step to buy a fixer-upper is choosing the right property. This is the moment that will determine the rest of your fixer-upper journey.

First of all, consider the architecture. The floor plan needs to be convertible into whatever you want. When you are looking around the home, imagine all the possibilities. If you want an open concept kitchen, then those walls need to be easily knocked down.

Location is the second factor to consider. Your real estate agent can help you decide which neighbourhoods are up and coming. The neighbourhood might not be much right now, but in a couple of years schools, stores and new developments can arise, making it desirable. And don't forget to see what the surrounding homes look like!


Hire a home inspector

A home inspection is crucial. An inspection report is a way of making sure you are getting a good deal and not a home that is beyond repair. This will be the deciding factor during the home buying process.

Do research beforehand to find a good home inspector and try to find one who already has experience in fixer-uppers. What will a home inspector check? The condition of the roof, presence of a pest, the septic tanks, natural hazards and more. If you can, follow them during the home inspection. By talking to them you will have a clear picture of the state of the home.


Be realistic

Every home buyer should be ready to tackle homeownership and everything it demands. When it comes to a fixer-upper, it's a different situation. A fixer-upper can easily turn into a nightmare if not done right. The burdens of renovation and maintenance can be overwhelming for some.

First, you need to think about the conditions that need to be fixed. Some might be cosmetic, others of fundamental nature and some will not even be worth it. You want a clear idea of which issues you want to avoid and which ones you can take on.

Consider how much time it will take not only to renovate but to either learn the skills necessary to fix it up or hire a professional. If you choose to do it yourself, working outside of work hours and on the weekends might extend the timeline. You have to be okay with living in a house that might be dusty and overwhelmed with constructions tools everywhere.



When choosing a home, you have to see past the imperfections like a worn carpet, but be very strict on the rest. There will be problems you can fix yourself and others where more professional help will be required.

Cosmetics is normally where people go for a do-it-yourself style. Look for easy fixes like painting, broken windows, replacing doors, etc. Think about your skills and resources and come up with a plan to take on these little fixes. But the two things you should never mess with are the structure and foundation. Hire professionals to help you out in these areas.


Consider the resale benefits

When you buy a fixer-upper, you are looking at a bigger resale profit. For this to happen, you need to choose the type of home that will attract the most buyers in the future. Normally, homes with 3 bedrooms and more than one washroom are a winner in the real estate market. Plus, the home improvements will add value to your home.


Calculate your budget

With a fixer-upper, there is money you can't avoid spending. Things like the furnace, the roofing and the electrical system will need to be either replaced or updated.

Keep in mind that renovations can add up really quickly. from hiring pros to buying DIY supplies. Always calculate the cost before you buy and take into account that timeline of the renovation.


Buying a fixer-upper is rewarding despite all the work. You get the satisfaction of seeing the property improve and turn into a home. Are you ready to get a new home? Search for homes today to see if maybe one of them is worth the effort.


Homicity helps you find your dream home in the perfect community. Whether you are buying, renting, or selling, you can navigate the Canadian real estate market with confidence with our expert advice, market news, and recommendations powered by AI.

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