Right now, the housing market has never been tighter. The housing industry claims to have "2.4 months" worth of homes on the market but what this really means is that the buyer demand far exceeds the number of homes available at any given time, all over the country.
With post-COVID demand for homes on the rise, it can be tough to find the perfect house with all the right features within your price range.
Move-In-Ready vs As-Is Home Buying
Move-in-ready homes are those that have been repaired, polished, and painted for a perfect buyer move-in. These homes are the ones seeing the highest spike in prices and buyer competition, but they are also a little harder to make truly yours with renovations because they are already "perfect" in many ways.
However, there will always be a stock of 'as-is' homes that sellers couldn't afford or manage to upgrade before listing. These homes are often listed far below their potential value because they need some TLC and lack that move-in readiness.
If you're looking to buy a home right now that is both perfect for you and within your price range, the best answer may be buying with plans to renovate. Why blow your new home budget on a bidding war when you can save money by making a home truly yours with renovations instead?
Buying to Renovate: The Best Strategies to Achieve Your Dream Home in Today's Market
When the Bones are Good
The first step in buying to renovate is knowing how to spot a good fixer-upper. As-is homes come in all shapes, sizes, and conditions. You can find everything from ranch houses with a little peeling paint to crumbling mansions. The key is to know, as Maren Morris says "when the bones are good".
This is an old real estate metaphor meaning the foundation, support structures, and essential fixtures are all still in good condition. You can re-plaster, put in new floors, and install new windows and a house with "good bones" will be as good as new.
Take your contractor and/or house inspector along when checking out potential houses to identify those that look good but have cracked foundations vs shabby-chic gems that will renovate to perfection.
The Perfect Floorplan
Next, think floor plan. When buying in the fixer-upper range of houses, you can often afford "more house" for your money. That means bigger floorplans and a wide range of decades in floorplan design style. The trick is to start with a floorplan you love, or almost love, then renovate around that to create your perfect at-home space.
Do you want a large, open-plan living room with an entertainer kitchen? How much master suite are you looking for? Do you like the kids' rooms in their own hallway or more spread out in the floorplan?
If you plan to take out walls, remember that you can replace support sections with enclosed columns and half-walls to make more open space from older, more enclosed designs. Or you can add walls to close off a home office space or a second suite for guests or teenagers. Also, consider the potential of finishing basements and attics for even more usable space - and resale value.
Finishing Walls, Floors, and Fixtures
Many homes sold as-is only need surface-level renovations to make them wonderful again. This is your chance to truly personalize in a way that people rarely do with move-in-ready homes.
If the old floors are ruined, take the opportunity to choose a tile, board, or carpet that fits the vision of your dream home. Rebuild and/or repaint the walls. Replace those shabby old fixtures and appliances with beautiful new pieces that not only upgrade the space but match your idea of a uniquely and beautifully decorated house.
Designing Your Ideal Kitchen
Let's not forget the opportunity that a fixer-upper kitchen can present. Old appliances? Cracked countertop? Sagging cabinetry? No problem! This is your chance to build your dream kitchen from the ground up using the "good bones" as a foundation for an incredible home cooking experience. Make your kitchen as cozy, beautiful, and modern as your tastes demand. Give yourself the convenience of custom-built cabinets, built-in organization, and cutting-edge, energy-efficient appliances.
Give yourself the gift of a pot-filler sink, a backsplash that you find breathtaking every day, and a layout that works perfectly for your height, reach, and personal cooking style.
Personalize Your Home Purchase Every Step of the Way
Most homebuyers are not ready to use their imaginations and budgets to their real best advantage. But if you already want to renovate a home to match your personal style and idea of perfect, buying to renovate is the ideal tactic in this high-competition housing market.
Contact us today to consult not only on your renovation plans but to gain the advantage of home renovation experts from the start of your house-hunt to laying the final backsplash tile.