It’s a buyer’s market and the temptation to buy a fixer-upper is great; there’s lots of older homes out there than can be had for a song. I found myself wondering if I should buy one of these, as well. But older homes need a lot of work, in fact, 10 year old modular homes usually need a lot of work—some of these things you can see and some you can’t like the electrical system, plumbing and duct work. Your fixer upper may cause you far more than you think.
Often the inexperienced do not realize what building supplies and plumbing fixtures cost and if they buy cheap they will be replacing them again and again. They are not building homes in large numbers so they get no discounts. And if they get discouraged and decide to bail out they might get back only a small fraction of the money they sank into the house—or usually none at all.
Some rather nasty and expensive surprises between those walls, under the foundation and the roof.
It’s hard to get a firm price on an extensive remodel and you might even run out of money before the job is done.
It’s hard to blend the old with the new and may limit what you can do.
The foundation can be tricky and very expensive to fix if it proves less than solid.
Living in a fixer-upper while it is being fixed or fixing it a little at a time can be difficult to say the least. I’ve seen marriages breakup by this. It is very, very stressful.
If you decide to sell one day your upgrades will hold very little value.
Many fixer-uppers are in bad neighborhoods.
House inspections often miss things like mold, pests, leaks and other problems.
Even if you think you can’t afford to build a new home there’s probably a mortgage program you will fit into. You might have to build a smaller home, but a good strong energy efficient smaller home with no problems for many years is better than a large home that is drafty, expensive to keep up and difficult to heat.
Building a new house pros:
You will need to buy land but you can buy into in a good neighborhood.
You will get a firm price from your builder if building a panelized home with no surprises.
You can have a home designed the way you want it and need it. Pre-drawn home plans are less expensive and you can have them customized to meet your needs and desires.
Panelized homes are complete in a fraction of the time it would take to renovate an older home yourself.
Your home will be energy efficient so your heating and electricity bills will be less and you’ll have more money for other things.
You can build more equity in your home.
Even if you are building on a tight budget you can decide what means most to you and what you can forgo or pay a lower price for. This way you will get what is really important to you.
Remember, even if that house seems like a great deal, the people selling it are doing so for a reason and you will be buying someone else’s problems, headaches, and possibly, a nightmare.