What to Look for When Buying a Fixer-Upper: A Homebuyer’s Guide

June 14, 2023

Ready to accept the challenge of investing in a fixer-upper home? Purchasing a property that needs a little TLC can be a wise choice, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Here are ways to make an informed decision and avoid costly mistakes when buying a fixer-upper.


Start with a Professional Inspection

Buying a fixer-upper home requires a lot of time, money, and effort. Do you know what you’re getting into? Make sure you do this by hiring a professional home inspector. A home inspection will divulge any hidden issues with the property, including electrical, plumbing, and structural problems. This will help you determine if the fixer-upper is worth your investment.

Look for Potential

When touring a fixer-upper home, it’s essential to look past its current condition and focus on its potential. Does the property have good bones? Is the layout functional? Can any unique features be restored to their former glory? By envisioning what the property could be with a little love and attention, you can narrow your search and find a diamond in the rough.

Consider Location and Neighborhood

Even with a little elbow grease, some fixer-upper homes will never be ideal investments due to their location or neighborhood. So before you commit to a property, research the area and make sure it’s a place where you want to live. Look for evidence of ongoing development, desirable schools, and proximity to amenities like shopping, entertainment, and public transportation.

Assess the Costs

Fixing up a home can be expensive, so it’s crucial to assess the costs carefully. Be sure to research the cost of any necessary permits, materials, and labor. Create a detailed budget and be realistic about what you can afford. Remember that unexpected expenses can arise, so it’s wise to have some cushion in your budget to account for these surprises.

Hire the Right Professionals

Once you’ve purchased a fixer-upper home, it’s time to get to work! Unless you’re a professional contractor or DIY expert, you’ll likely need to hire professionals to help with the renovation process. Be sure to vet potential contractors carefully, get multiple quotes, and check references. Then, you can tackle even the most extensive renovation projects with the right team.


Buying a fixer-upper home can be rewarding and profitable, especially if you know what to expect and how to approach the renovation process. You can turn a fixer-upper into a dream home by starting with a professional inspection, looking for potential, considering location and neighborhood, assessing the costs, and hiring the right professionals. Remember, patience is a virtue in fixer-upper homes, so take your time, research, and prepare for an exciting adventure.
The first step in any fixer-upper is the search and purchase, and I can help with that! Call me at 717-253-3259 (cell) or visit www.karentavenner.com to work with an experienced senior real estate professional!