Thanks to the popularity of various HGTV shows, many of today’s buyers are interested in buying Boise Idaho fixer-uppers.
The reality TV shows make it look easy, but they often fail to explain the unpleasant, expensive surprises that can occur with a remodeling project.
It’s not as simple as those scripted for television shows portray it.
Here are a few things to consider if you’re interested in buying a Boise Idaho fixer-upper.
In your offer, include the right to terminate the transaction if you don’t like the results of a home inspection.
Then, get a thorough home inspection.
Look for previous work that has been done.
If there’s a room addition, or other obvious work that has been done, check with the building department to see if the owners pulled a permit.
Make sure that any previous work that was done passed final inspection by the building department.
Bringing a property up to code can be very expensive, and in some instances, nearly impossible.
Have the electrical components inspected by a licensed electrician.
Some older properties lack newer electrical components.
Others may have unsafe wiring that could create fire danger.
Bringing old electrical components up to code can be costly.
Have the plumbing inspected by a licensed plumbing contractor.
Under Idaho law, there are different levels of plumbing licensing.
You don’t want an apprentice; you want a plumber who has a journeyman license.
Older homes may have lead pipe plumbing that needs to be replaced.
Look for signs of plumbing problems, including leaks, low water pressure, and older plumbing fixtures that don’t work properly.
What type of HVAC system does the home have?
How old is the HVAC system?
Has it been serviced at least annually?
Homes with older HVAC systems should be evaluated by a licensed HVAC contractor to determine their condition and estimated remaining life.
Have the roof inspected by a licensed roofing contractor.
Many shake roofs fail early due to lack of proper maintenance.
Older homes with composition roofs often have low-quality 20-year shingles.
If you’re buying a home built in the 70s with 20-year composition shingles, you’ll soon be replacing the roof.
If you’re buying a home with a shake roof, replacement will cost more due to the added cost of removing the existing shake roof.
Older homes often have mature landscaping and trees nearby.
That means there’s a possibility of tree roots near sewer connection lines.
If those sewer connection lines leak, the leaking moisture will attract tree roots that can intrude into a sewer line.
If you’re considering a home with mature trees near the sewer connection line, hire a professional to “scope” the sewer line with a camera.
Your life will become very exciting if a tree root breaks your sewer line and sewage backs up into your home.
When it comes to repairs, don’t guess at the cost.
Get written bids from licensed professionals.
Remember: If you think professionals are expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur!
Expect Cost Overruns
One rule of remodeling is that remodeling costs seldom come in at the estimated cost.
Expect cost overruns and budget for them.
Does It Make Sense?
Before you buy that dream cottage that was built in the 1920s, set your emotions aside and consider the total costs of the project.
Will the total costs exceed the value of the property after remodeling?
Buy It Right
When you buy a home that needs remodeling, you need to buy it at a reasonable cost.
Run the numbers, know your costs, and negotiate a price that will allow you to make improvements without overpaying for the property.
Unfortunately, that’s nearly impossible to do in our current hot seller’s market.
During his 45 years of full-time real estate experience, Phil has helped thousands of past clients buy and sell quality properties in the Western U.S.
Phil is one of only ten local Realtors® (of nearly 5,500) honored with the coveted “Realtor® Emeritus” award from the National Association of Realtors®, recognizing 40 years in real estate.