Buying a Rehab House – Tips

Buying a rehab house can be a big decision.  First you must decide if this is for you to live in or are you rehabbing the house for a profit.  Your approach for an investment is vastly different than rehabbing a house to live in.  Today I will be discussing rehabbing a house to live in, the blog on rehabbing a house for profit will come at a later date.  By buying a house that needs work you can save a lot of money upfront, but be prepared to put in the work.

The next thing to decide when rehabbing a house is whether to live in the house during the renovation or not.  Rehabbing the house without living there is obviously easier, and renovations can be completed quicker.  If you decide to live in the house during rehab, be prepared to live in a mess.

Like all rehab projects, information is key to accurately estimating costs and a budget. Before you purchase the home, it is a good idea to have the home inspected by a professional home inspector, electrician, and a plumber.  This can help you in the long run to avoid hidden problems.  The more information you can gather the better.

Once you start the work on the home, remember the projects will usually take longer than you expected.  Be prepared for lots of trips to the hardware store and tool rental store.  If you are living in the rehab, controlling the dust and debris can be critical.  This is where plastic sheets with zippered doors are very handy.  This will allow you to work on one area of the house without disturbing the other areas of the home.

Be prepared for hidden costs like plumbing or electrical issues.  These are located behind behind the walls so issues are sometimes hard to tell before you buy the house.  Plan for those unexpected costs when preparing your budget.

When rehabbing to live there, you can spend a little more on appliances and fixtures as you are not as concerned with the immediate resale value.  The rehab can also be done with a more personal taste in colors, the color palate for a flip is much more limited to neutral colors.  Do you prefer carpet or hardwood, smooth or textured walls, granite or engineered stone counters?  These are some of the decisions you will be presented with during your home rehab.  Since this is for you to live in, and not for immediate resale, you can be more selective on personal taste.  Be mindful of cost however, odds are you will sell the home eventually and do not want to over spend for the neighborhood.

Know your limits and skill level for the projects you are taking on.  It is a good idea to have a list of professionals on hand to call when you need them.  The last thing you want to do is attempt repairs that are outside your level of expertise, and cause unintended damage to the home that will be more expensive to fix down the road.  Some things are better left to the professionals.

A rehab house can usually be purchased for a good value, but will take money and hard work to bring back into market condition.  Be prepared for surprises and the unexpected, take your time and do it right.  A rehab house can be a good deal especially if you can do some of the work yourself.  It’s a lot of work but can be a rewarding and profitable experience.

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