With the shortage of affordable homes, many buyers are turning their sights to buying a New Orleans fixer-upper property as an alternative. They think that it will be easy to find something that just needs cosmetic updates (pssst…it’s not) and that they can quickly add equity by doing the work themselves.
Here’s our take on what to consider when buying a New Orleans fixer-upper
Don’t skip inspections unless you are actually an inspector
Even if you’re going into a purchase with the understanding that you’ll need to do some work, an inspection is still a must. We’ve seen way too many defects over the years to ever give one of our buyers the advice to skip an inspection! Getting a video of the plumbing and having a professional check out the major mechanicals is some of the best money you’ll ever spend. Don’t end up spending thousands of dollars fixing issues that would have been uncovered by a $500 inspection.
Be realistic about what projects you can tackle and what needs to be outsourced
This is also known as “are you handy?” We recommend that you do a little soul searching about what you are actually capable of doing yourself. Everyone thinks they can paint and maybe even lay a floor. But what about hanging cabinets or installing countertops, changing out vanities or toilets, or doing simple electrical repairs? At some point, there are jobs that should be done by a professional. We lump electrical, plumbing, and HVAC issues into the category of leave it to a pro.
Do you have a budget for repairs and improvements
Whatever you think that those repairs and improvements will cost, add another 25% to that number. There will always be cost overruns and unexpected repairs that will eat into your budget quickly. We’ve seen the addition of outlets in a room turn into an entire rewiring project. Hidden wall splices and old knob and tube wiring that needed to be removed and replaced bumped the cost substantially, so we know a thing or two about unforeseen budget increases.
Do you have a support system to help you with recommendations and referrals?
Whether you are tapping your agent’s directory of contractors and handymen or asking your friends for recommendations, it’s important to know where you’ll find help. You’ll want referrals to people that your agent, friends, or family have successfully worked with in the past. You don’t need the name of some guy from a Facebook group that you heard “does that kind of work”. The investment you are making is way too expensive to cheap out when it comes to hiring the right help.
Need more home buying advice? We’ve got plenty of it right here.