Tips for Buying a House That Needs Remodeling

Embarking on the journey of buying a house to remodel involves strategic considerations, and understanding the intricacies of renovations, financing, and loans is paramount. In this blog, we delve into the multifaceted aspects of turning a fixer-upper into your dream home. From the advantages of purchasing a house that needs remodeling to essential tips when buying a fixer-upper, we’ve got you covered. Your journey to transforming a house into your ideal living space starts here – let’s navigate the complexities together.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange County with reliable general contractors, we help homeowners navigate their home remodeling projects every day.

Why Consider Buying a House that Needs Remodeling

buying a house that needs remodeling

Buying a house that needs remodeling can be a strategic decision for various reasons, including:

  • Cost: Buying a house that needs work often presents a more affordable entry into homeownership, allowing buyers to purchase a property in a desirable location at a lower initial cost. 
  • Customization: Remodeling provides the opportunity to customize the home according to personal preferences and needs. This can be particularly appealing for individuals with specific design tastes or those looking to create a unique living space.
  • Investment: While the initial costs may be lower, renovating the property has the potential to increase its market value, resulting in a profitable return on investment.
  • Taking your time: Buying and remodeling a home allows buyers to gradually upgrade and enhance the home based on their budget and timeline.
  • Fulfillment: Tackling a remodeling project can be a fulfilling and creative endeavor, offering a sense of accomplishment as the property is transformed. However, prospective buyers should carefully assess the extent of necessary renovations, budget considerations, and their own willingness and ability to manage the remodeling process. 

Tips for Buying a Fixer-Upper

house needs remodeling

When considering buying a fixer-upper, several tips can guide a successful and rewarding investment:

    • Inspection: First and foremost, conduct a thorough inspection of the property to identify the extent of required renovations. Engage professional inspectors to assess structural integrity, plumbing, and electrical systems. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of potential challenges and estimated costs.
    • Budget: Create a realistic budget that includes not only the purchase price but also renovation expenses. Allow for unforeseen costs that may arise during the remodeling process. 
    • Prioritization: Prioritize renovations based on essential needs, addressing structural and safety concerns first before cosmetic enhancements.
    • Permits and codes: Research local zoning and building codes to ensure compliance with regulations. Obtain any necessary permits before commencing renovations to avoid legal complications.
    • DIY vs. getting help: Consider your personal skills and the scope of the project. Some fixer-uppers may require extensive expertise, while others are more manageable for DIY enthusiasts. Balance the desire for customization with practicality and resale value.
  • Plan for delays: Have a contingency plan and a timeline for the renovations. Delays and unexpected challenges are common, so being prepared will contribute to a smoother and more successful fixer-upper purchase.

Costs for a Whole House Remodel

house remodeling

The costs for a whole house remodel can vary widely depending on factors such as square footage and the extent of renovations. A comprehensive gut and remodel, which includes updating every aspect of the house, can range from $100,000 to $200,000. The gut renovation cost per square foot falls between $60 and $150, covering new plumbing, appliances, structural improvements, roofing, and HVAC systems.

Interior renovation costs should also be considered, with demolishing the interior averaging $1,000 to $5,000, inclusive of debris removal, dumping fees, permits, and tear-out expenses. The total cost to remodel an entire house in Los Angeles and Southern California typically ranges from $100 to $300 per square foot. For a 2,500-square-foot home, this translates to a minimum of about $250,000.

Note that basic improvements like painting, landscaping, and updating trim and flooring may be on the lower end, while more extensive renovations, including foundation repair, full bathroom or kitchen remodels, and HVAC and roof replacement, contribute to higher costs. 

Getting Contractor Bids During Your Purchase Escrow

fixer upper

Securing contractor bids during a purchase escrow is a prudent step that enhances the homebuying process. By involving contractors early, prospective buyers gain insights into potential renovation costs, aiding in negotiation and financial planning. Detailed bids should be requested, encompassing labor, material estimates, and projected timelines. This transparency ensures a comprehensive understanding of the investment required for any necessary repairs or improvements. Moreover, obtaining bids enables buyers to identify potential challenges and make informed decisions about the property’s overall condition.

Choosing reputable contractors with relevant experience is crucial. Their expertise can provide valuable guidance, and references can attest to their reliability. The information gleaned from contractor bids empowers buyers to factor renovation expenses into their overall budget, preventing surprises down the line. Additionally, it facilitates a smoother escrow process, minimizing delays and uncertainties. 

Finding a Contractor for a Fixer-Upper

Selecting the right contractor for a fixer-upper is pivotal to the success of the renovation project. The process should involve the following steps:

  • Recommendations: Seek referrals from friends, family, or real estate professionals with experience in fixer-upper renovations.
  • Online research: Utilize online platforms to read reviews and gather additional insights about potential contractors.
  • Credentials: Verify that contractors are licensed, insured, and have a proven track record in similar projects.
  • Interviews: Conduct interviews with potential contractors to assess communication skills, reliability, and project understanding.
  • References: Request and thoroughly check references to gauge client satisfaction and assess the contractor’s ability to meet deadlines and budgets.
  • Transparency: Ensure the contractor provides a detailed written estimate and contract outlining costs, timelines, and specific responsibilities.
  • Subcontractors: Inquire about the contractor’s subcontractors, as their collaboration is crucial to project success.
  • Compatibility: Assess the contractor’s compatibility with the project’s requirements and evaluate their ability to work harmoniously with their team.
  • Decision-making: Take the necessary time to evaluate qualifications, reputation, and overall compatibility before making a contractor selection.

Finding a contractor on your own can be an involved, long process. Don’t have the time? Let GreatBuildz do all of the hard work for you. Just reach out to us to be matched with one of our trusted, pre-vetted fixer-upper contractors in the Los Angeles and Southern California area. Contact GreatBuildz today at (818.317.3567) or visit our website for more information.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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