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Margaret Kapranos
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties

Warning Signs That a Fixer-Upper is Actually a Money Pit

For many first-time homebuyers, a fixer-upper is a great option. While a few repairs, a couple coats of paint and some TLC can go a long way, some homes can harbor more costly and unexpected problems. Here are some warning signs to consider before you purchase that fixer-upper:

A Faulty Foundation
If a foundation is cracked, bowed or shifted, the cost for repair can reach the tens of thousands. Before you consider putting in an offer, and along with the home inspector, call in a structural engineer to check for problems, including moldy basements or infestation damages, to determine whether the potential cost of repairs is worth the price of the home. 

Outdated Electrical Wiring
From an old fuse panel to substandard wiring, electrical issues are something to look out for before you purchase a home. Outdated electrical work can cause house fires and run costly in regards to your utility bills. Consult a professional electrician to discuss any issues, dangers and repair costs. 

Pest or Insect Infestation
Termites love wood, which is the material most homes are made from. When touring a home, be sure to check for sagging floors and ceilings, droppings (from mice or other small rodents), foundation problems and structural damage. Prior damage, or even worse, active termites, can cost thousands to repair or exterminate. Discuss any issues with the home inspector first!

A Damaged Roof
With a fixer-upper, replacing roof shingles should be expected. However, if the roof is sagging, leaking or needs multiple layers of shingles, you may discover another extremely costly repair. An inspector, as well as a professional roofer, can give you a quote, however, this is a particularly important piece of the home; you may want to negotiate having the sellers repair it before putting in your offer. 

Old Windows 
Though charming, old windows can quickly become one of the most expensive aspects of any home. Original windows are a considerable cause of energy loss and costly utility bills, and unfortunately, the cost for new, energy-efficient windows isn’t cheap. Reach out to your real estate agent to request the last 12 months of electric bills to determine the potential cost of keeping or replacing the windows.