Looking to get sweaty and dirty with a real estate project? Buying a “budget friendly” (or, the less eloquent term, “fixer upper”) can be a great way to get a property with potential at a price you can afford. I’ll use the terms interchangeably in an effort to put the right spin on these properties. As a bonus to getting into a house at a lower price point, budget friendly homes also come with a free hobby! Kidding aside, buying and renovating a fixer upper has been a path taken by lots of homebuyers.
A couple points before our list of Fixer Uppers
There are different levels of “fixer upper”. You could find a great house with a terrible kitchen, and you could call that a fixer upper. Holding out for the perfect house with the perfect kitchen might be a fool’s errand, but if you can tackle the kitchen project, it could be a sweet deal for you.
Someone once told me that the way to figure the cost of a project is to get three estimates, and add the top two together. That’s a little too pessimistic for my liking, but there’s some truth in it. Renovations always take longer and cost more than you think. If you’re clear headed, and have some wiggle room in your budget and schedule, then definitely consider budget friendly homes.
Lenders look at fixer uppers in different ways. It’s really smart to have a solid relationship with your Realtor as well as a lender. It’s no fun to get into contract on a house only to realize that “Oh, with this one, you’re going to need 25% down.” when you thought you only needed 10%. Again, with an experienced Realtor and a good lender on your side, you should be good.
Now…let’s get into this.
I think this one is a sleeper. It has a good layout, and lots of character. Not weird character, but the kind of character that buyers like. 45 School has big rooms, including a large kitchen. It could definitely benefit from taking on some projects, but at $169,000 there’s room in a budget for that!
This one looks really solid, and just a little dated. Solid and dated is a manageable renovation. That also means you could probably live in the house while it’s being worked on. Redoing flooring, removing wallpaper, and updating some or all of the kitchen would go a long way. And the land isn’t going anywhere. That’s a really nice slice of Vermont countryside, all for under $200,000. It's currently pending but it is a great example of some of the homes that are out there.
Now we’re talking! A waterfront camp/house that needs a lot of work? This is the kind of thing your grandparents talk about, and then it stays in the family for generations. (By “it”, I mean the property and also the origin story). It’s been stripped to the studs, and is ready for someone to roll up their sleeves. Imagine the memories you’ll make as you sweat equity your way into this one.
This one almost seems like it’s not as fixer upper-y as it comes across. Fortney is tucked away a little bit, so even though there are small lots, there’s still privacy. Hate to go out on a limb, but it feels like they’re trying to under promise and over deliver. Don’t get me wrong, there are projects to take on. I’d say it’s worth it.