Fixer-Upper or Turnkey – Can You Handle a Renovation?

Posted by DeBianchi Real Estate on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 at 10:30am.

If you watch renovation shows, you’ve seen the highs and lows experienced by homeowners during a renovation. There are moments of great triumph, like seeing your perfect new floor or how beautifully your furniture looks in a room once it is finally in. There are also moments of despair, like when one project leads to another, and another and another. And expenses begin to pile up like the dust that coats everything inside your home.

Do you have the fortitude to make it through a renovation? Consider the following before deciding whether you want a fixer-upper or a turnkey home.


It Could Take Months
Renovations almost always take longer than anticipated. All of the supplies needed often aren’t available in one place or have to be back-ordered, contractors can be notoriously unreliable, not to mention that costs can be more than expected. Patience is not just a virtue; it’s a necessity for surviving a renovation.

Cans of Worms
Renovation shows are notorious for a dramatic scene, about halfway through the show, in which the homeowner discovers their renovation team has opened a can of worms. Fixing some electrical wires leads to discovering the floor is unsound. Demolishing a wall leads to a dreaded discovery of asbestos. The list goes on and on.

To say a renovation causes inconvenience is an understatement. You can live in the home during the renovation, which pretty much sucks. Everything you own is covered in dust and you are sucking paint fumes 24/7. Your stuff is likely still in boxes or not even in your home. If you opt to stay elsewhere – at a friend’s home or in a rental – you still have that unsettled feeling throughout the renovation.

The Positives

Low, Low, Price
Buying a fixer-upper almost always means a dramatically lower price than a similar home that is completely updated. What you must consider is whether or not the lower cost will outweigh the expense of the renovation and the time you must devote. If the home has good “bones” to build upon, you’re in good shape. This is why home inspections are critical – they can help you find out all the non-cosmetic items that are important to tackle in your renovation.

Make it Your Own
We’ve discussed a lot of drawbacks so far, but one of the undeniable delights of renovating a home is making it your own. When buying a turnkey home, unless you are working with a builder, you will choose each and every finish, the colors, the appliances, the fixtures, it’s all you.

Sense of Accomplishment
Though the negative aspects of renovations can be torturous to live through, when it is complete, you feel like a true champion. The theme song to Rocky starts playing in your head. You’re a renovating badass who can’t fail. All of the late nights painting, unexpected expenses and delays have culminated in your masterpiece and now it’s time to throw the other of all housewarming parties to show off your work. You have a low mortgage payment every month… though you may have racked up a hefty home improvement store credit card bill. But overall, life is good.

Think you can handle a renovation? The risks can be big, but the rewards can be great.

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