Knowledge Builders

should a first time home buyer buy a fixer upper

by Dr. Dillon Anderson I Published 11 months ago Updated 6 months ago

What to know before you buy a fixer upper?

Typically, you can borrow up to 110% of the new and improved value of the home. So should you buy a fixer-upper if you are a first-time homebuyer? It depends on your situation and the condition of the home. No matter who you are, make sure to give the decision careful thought.

What to consider when buying a fixer upper?

Jan 28, 2022 · It can be difficult to determine the true cost of a fixer-upper – especially for first-time home buyers. Of course, there is a standard formula for determining how much you should pay. Say the home is listed at $300k – including closing costs – and you are quoted $150k in repairs. You should not offer more than $450k for the property.

What to look for when buying a fixer upper home?

Should a first time home buyer buy a fixer upper? 1. Buying a fixer-upper can be a shortcut to homeownership. High prices, limited inventory, weak credit scores and saving a down payment: These challenges often stand between new buyers and their first home. Buying a fixer-upper is one way you may be able to overcome them. Click to see full answer.

Is buying a fixer upper Worth It?

Jun 28, 2019 · Buying a fixer-upper can provide a shortcut to homeownership for first-time home buyers, or a way for repeat buyers to afford a larger home or …


Is buying a fixer upper home a good idea?

A fixer-upper may be a good investment. But it can also be a huge money pit if you estimate renovations incorrectly, contract out for most projects, and skip an inspection. To ensure a fixer-upper house is well worth the money, look at comparable homes (known in real estate as comps) in the neighborhood.Mar 2, 2022

How much do you have to put down on a fixer upper?

The guidelines to qualify for an FHA fixer-upper loan are the same as other FHA loans, including a minimum 500 credit score if you can make a 10% down payment, or 580 score for a 3.5% down payment.Dec 23, 2021

Are the costs on fixer upper realistic?

It's no secret to most viewers that the renovation estimates on flip shows like Fixer Upper are almost always lower than what those quotes would be in the real world. On average, the renovation budget for each home on the show was $121,000 — with 13% of homes coming in over budget and 11% coming in under budget.May 3, 2019

Is buying a fixer upper cheaper?

Fixer uppers are often cheaper to purchase, but have you factored in the renovation costs, including the time it will take to complete the work and move in? You won't have to pay for the labor expenses that come with building a house, which adds up quickly and can be more expensive than buyers initially anticipated.Mar 14, 2022

What should I do first on Fixer Upper?

5:4611:03Buying a Fixer-Upper Home! | What to do First! - YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipWe can do it's one thing for us to say hey you know what I can do the demo of my kitchen. And I canMoreWe can do it's one thing for us to say hey you know what I can do the demo of my kitchen. And I can go ahead and get one of those big bins. And toss everything out myself I can paint the walls.

Who pays for renovations on Fixer Upper?

HGTV does not fund the renovations, but they do cover the cost of one bonus item and pay a talent fee to Chip & Joanna. If you thought that renovation budget seemed impossible for everything Chip and Joanna accomplished, that's because the buyers are basically getting the renovations done at a cost.

Why is Fixer Upper Cancelled?

A few days ago, it was confirmed that Chip and Joanna Gaines' newly launched Magnolia Network had cancelled the series Home Work, after hosts / renovation experts Andy and Candis Meredith were accused by several homeowners of damaging their homes for work done for the new show.Jan 14, 2022

How does Fixer Upper actually work?

"You have to be under contract to be on the show," he explained. "They show you other homes but you already have one. After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna and their design team." So while Fixer Upper shows contestants shopping around for their new home, in reality, they've already chosen it.Jun 1, 2021

Does Chip do the work on Fixer Upper?

What happens in Fixer Upper? In a typical Fixer Upper episode, the Gaineses will show potential buyers (usually couples) three homes in need of repair. After the buyers choose a home, Joanna will design it to their liking and Chip works on the construction of the property with his Magnolia team.Jan 29, 2021

Is it cheaper to remodel or build new?

In many cases, new builds are cheaper to build per square metre than a complete renovation. “Any new, self-contained house or flat can be undertaken with zero rate VAT on the construction costs of the project, including kitchen and bathroom fixtures and fittings,” explains John Everitt of Coombes Everitt Architects.

Is it cheaper to buy a house that needs work?

Create a home you want for the same total price A property in need of renovation is likely to be cheaper than its renovated counterpart. On most streets, you will find that extended homes or those that have been finished to a high standard will command a higher asking price.Jan 23, 2018

When should you walk off fixer upper?

You should think twice if the house has termite damage, water damage, needs serious upgrades to the electrical systems, or if there is a mold manifestation. If you find problems like these after a home inspection, experts say it's probably best to walk away.Jan 31, 2019

What is a renovation loan?

Renovation loans are mortgages that let you finance a house and improvements at the same time. With a renovation loan, you can pay off improvements over a longer period of time and at a lower interest rate than other types of financing. Options include:

What is a 203k loan?

A standard FHA 203 (k) loan, for example, requires you to hire a Department of Housing and Urban Development consultant who’ll approve your plans, manage contractor payments and inspect the property after each phase of work is complete.

Who is Beth Buczynski?

About the authors: Beth Buczynski is a mortgages editor at NerdWallet. Her work has been featured by The Associated Press and Money magazine, among others. Read more. Kate Wood writes about mortgages, homebuying and homeownership for NerdWallet.

Can VA loans be used for renovations?

They can be used for most improvement projects. VA renovation loan: The Department of Veterans Affairs recently updated its VA loan guidelines to include the purchase and renovation of a home. A VA-approved contractor is required, eligible projects are somewhat limited and your lender may charge a construction fee.

Is it hard to find a fixer upper?

With the relatively low inventory of homes for sale these days, a move-in ready home can be hard to find, especially if you’re on a budget. That could be why, in 2019, nearly 60% of ...

What is a home inspection?

A proper home inspection is done by a professional who knows exactly what to look for, can identify the telltale signs of problems, and will provide a detailed document of the home’s condition. When purchasing a fixer-upper, this step is an absolute must. The home inspection should confirm all the work you think needs to be done.

Is mold a non-issue?

In some ways, the danger of mold has been overplayed. When properly identified, abated and the source corrected, mold can become a non-issue.

Is it a disaster to renovate your first home?

Renovating your first home sounds like an exciting opportunity, and it can be. But fair warning, it can also be a disaster if you jump in unprepared. That’s not even considering the mess, noise and inconvenience of living in a construction zone.

What is the last thing you want with a fixer upper?

The last thing you want with a fixer-upper is to overpay. The whole point of buying a house that needs work is getting a good deal on it. Make an offer that strikes a balance between a good deal and the cost of necessary repairs.

What is a fixer upper?

A fixer-upper is a house available at a lower purchase price because it requires major maintenance work. While you can likely still live in a fixer-upper, you’ll need to spend a lot of time and money on structural and/or cosmetic improvements.

What are the requirements for a permit?

There are some renovations that may require permits. Of course, the location of your home will dictate which renovations you need permits for, but in most town and cities, permits are necessary for: 1 Structural work 2 Window installation 3 Room additions 4 Sheds and garages 5 Fences 6 Plumbing and electrical work

What are the pros and cons of a fixer upper?

Pros. A lower purchase price: Although you’ll need to spend more on renovating it , a fixer-upper house will come with a lower list price and down payment requirement. Less competition: Generally speaking, there is less competition for fixer-upper homes, so you’re more likely to land the home you’d like at a great price.

Why is a home inspection important?

A home inspection helps you avoid unpleasant surprises as well as budget for and prioritize projects. A home inspection is a necessary part of any home purchase, but especially with a fixer-upper. 2. Estimate Renovation Costs.

Where does Andrew Dehan live?

He is also a published poet, musician and nature-lover. He lives in metro Detroit with his wife, daughter and dogs.

What are the contingencies in a home purchase?

Contingencies are exceptions that allow you to back out of a purchase if something comes up. A couple common contingencies are inspection and appraisal contingencies. If an inspection discovers a major problem or the home appraises lower than what you offered, you can back out.

Save That Money, Honey

That’s right. You can definitely save money on a fixer-upper. Your mortgage and insurance and down payment will be less than on a turn-key home, but keep in mind that you may end up paying near what you would for a new home during your renovation.

Earn While You Learn

Even if you’re not sure which end of a screwdriver to hold, you’ll learn as you go if you buy a fixer-upper. Consider it your education in becoming a homeowner. When you replace stuff, as you’ll do in a fixer-upper, you will probably screw up a lot, but you will also learn.


You may be young now, but one day you’ll retire and have nothing to do unless you really do save up enough money to start a winery or sail around the world. Retirement is a time for hobbies, piddling and fixing things or making things. It’s a time to finally finish that fixer-upper you bought 30 years ago.

Impress Your Friends and Family

For everyone in your life who told you that you couldn’t do something like take on a fixer-upper — here’s a chance to show them that you can. The confidence, perseverance, and grit you develop when rehabbing a fixer-upper can only be matched by 12-weeks at boot camp or training for and finishing an Iron Man Triathlon.


What Is A Fixer-Upper?

Pros and Cons of A Fixer-Upper

  • Homebuyers can find substantial savings when they buy a fixer-upper, but they also can run into major challenges that can cost time and money. Here are some pros and cons of buying a fixer-upper as your first home:
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How to Shop For A Fixer-Upper

  • Buying your first home is a learning experience. However, if you plan on buying a fixer-upper, be prepared for a significant amount of additional work.
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How to Finance A Fixer-Upper

  • There are many ways to finance a fixer-upper, including special mortgages, loans, or grants. Here are some examples of common programs that can help finance a renovation project.
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The Bottom Line

  • Buying a fixer-upper as your first home can save you substantial money, so it can be ideal for people on a tight budget. However, keep your budget in mind when planning upgrades and renovations so the costs don’t exceed your savings. If you enjoy home-improvement projects or want to earn profits with flipping homes, a fixer-upper can be a good choi...
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