Buying and rehabbing a fixer upper is a lot like childbirth. In the throes of it you’re screaming at anyone to “just put me out of my misery,” and swearing you’ll never have another child (or remodel another home), but then comes the big reveal and all that pain is forgotten — unless you shot a lot of videos. Then you can relive every painful “I want a divorce” moment… but we digress.
Seriously, though, there are a lot of reasons for buying a fixer upper as your first home. Here are just a few:
Save That Money, Honey
That’s right. You can definitely save money on a fixer-upper. Your mortgage and insurance and down payment will be less than on a turn-key home, but keep in mind that you may end up paying near what you would for a new home during your renovation. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring in a few professionals to give you bids on what they would charge to do certain things so you can compare apples to apples etc. What you think things are going to cost is not what they’re going to cost, often it ends up counting more, but you can spread it out over time. Do your homework before you buy and you will end up saving. Also, keep in mind that you will probably end up making money back when you sell if you do a good remodel.
Earn While You Learn
Even if you’re not sure which end of a screwdriver to hold, you’ll learn as you go if you buy a fixer-upper. Consider it your education in becoming a homeowner. When you replace stuff, as you’ll do in a fixer-upper, you will probably screw up a lot, but you will also learn. Those thumb banging, blister forming, head knocking moments your spouse catches on video and posts on Facebook will become eventually become skills, and ultimately you will be able to parlay those newly learned skills into an even better job on the next project or house.
You may be young now, but one day you’ll retire and have nothing to do unless you really do save up enough money to start a winery or sail around the world. Retirement is a time for hobbies, piddling and fixing things or making things. It’s a time to finally finish that fixer-upper you bought 30 years ago. By buying a fixer-upper while you’re young, you’re preparing for a great retirement without ever having to leave home to enjoy it.
It’s Cheaper Than Therapy
Some men and women fish. Others turn to drink. Still, others hammer and saw and then turn to drink. The thing is, we all need a release, some way to blow off steam, to let our creative muse roam free, and something to wear us out at night so we can sleep. We need something to fill our weekends and our free time. So we buy fixer-uppers. There’s something spiritual about joining two or more pieces of wood together, or painting, or tiling, or digging, or scraping or plastering drywall. Consider a fixer-upper as the best thing before therapy.
Impress Your Friends and Family
For everyone in your life who told you that you couldn’t do something like take on a fixer-upper — here’s a chance to show them that you can. The confidence, perseverance, and grit you develop when rehabbing a fixer-upper can only be matched by 12-weeks at boot camp or training for and finishing an Iron Man Triathlon. Laugh, but there are few things any of us enjoy more than showing someone a built-in bookcase, a new kitchen install, or a newly remodeled bathroom whose shower doesn’t leak. There’s a lot to be said for making, fixing, painting, or installing things with your own two hands.
Ultimately, saving money and getting that first leg-up into the home owner game without mortgaging yourself into three jobs is why most of us buy a fixer upper, but ultimately that decision to save money becomes so much more. Good luck!
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