Buying a fixer-upper in Atlanta is one way to find a home in a desirable neighborhood. If you love the charm of older homes’ architecture but prefer a modern interior design, a fixer-upper affords the opportunity to renovate and redecorate. However, people who buy a fixer-upper with the intention of getting a bargain-priced house are often disappointed. No matter how much information a property inspection provides, buyers often underestimate the amount of work required and the cost of the total renovations. In this article, we cover Buying a Fixer-Upper? Why You Should Leave Room in Your Budget for a Few Surprises.

Doing it yourself may take years

Many DIYers love the challenge of buying a fixer-upper and intend to do most of the work themselves, thereby saving money on professional contractors. Then, life happens. Work gets busy, children are born and other chores begin to pile up. While it’s easy to knock out painting and other minor repairs by yourself, redoing a bathroom or kitchen on your own time might take months. And while picking out new fixtures, cabinets and flooring can be exciting and fun, the hard work of ripping out your old kitchen and bathrooms takes its toll. When buying a home in need of immediate renovations, it’s essential to plan out the scope of your work ahead of time and to have a back-up plan in case you find yourself in over your head.

Renovation costs add up quickly

If you choose to hire contractors to renovate your new home, make sure to ask for detailed estimates from several firms. According to, if you have money set aside for renovations and repairs on a fixer-upper, you should plan to add 20 percent for additional items not included in the initial estimates. Expect your contractor to suggest additional minor projects which can be easily done along with your original renovation. For example, if you’re replacing tile flooring in a bathroom, this is also a good time to put in a new vanity. Or if you’re renovating your kitchen and installing new cabinets, it’s also a great time to add under-cabinet lighting or a tile backsplash. Although you may not have planned on extra upgrades, it may make sense to have them completed while you’re already inconvenienced and contractors are working in your house.

Passing inspection isn’t a guarantee

Have you heard stories about heaters or air conditioning units passing a home inspection, only to stop working shortly after settlement? Roofs that never leaked may begin to soon after a new buyer moves in. When the infrastructure of a house is old, things will slowly start to break down, so it’s best to budget for at least one large repair. And if everything continues to work well, you can always put the money toward cosmetic upgrades.

For some buyers, envisioning the potential of a fixer-upper home is difficult. But if you love the charm of old homes, and have the patience and budget to manage the repairs and upgrades, the long-term results can be unique and beautiful.

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