man fixing frame of home

If you’re looking to buy a home intending to renovate, you’ll need to look at homes with a different set of criteria than a home you’re looking to move into right away. Seeing past closed-off walls, outdated spaces and drafty windows can help you spot a fixer-upper ready for you to put your stamp on. Here are a few things to look for when you’re looking for fixer-upper properties

Pay attention to the location
Everybody knows the adage, but it’s especially true for fixer-upper properties. No amount of time, work, or money can change a home’s location. A good way to evaluate a home’s neighborhood is to visit the area multiple times at various hours. You’ll be able to better discern the local culture and neighborhood activity from multiple visits than just the snapshot you’ll see from a showing.

Pay careful attention to age-related elements
Older homes can have health risks, particularly if lead paint, asbestos, or radon are present. These issues all need professional remediation, so it’s critical that the inspection tests for these safety risks. In addition, older homes often aren’t up to code, so you’ll need to decide if bringing the house up to code is an investment you’re willing to make.

Count the number of bedrooms and bathrooms
While there are always creative ways to create more space, bedrooms and bathrooms can be more difficult to add. If you require a particular number of bedrooms and bathrooms, look for properties with this number.

Look for a structurally sound house
A structurally sound home is the best type of fixer-upper. When you purchase a house with plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems that are in good condition, it prevents any unexpected issues. Issues about the home’s structure could impact the timing of the completion, your investment in the project, the permits you need to pull and the overall scope of the work. Even if the home has stunning cosmetic details, evaluating its structure and systems first is essential.

Bring a professional with you
If you already have a trusted general contractor or builder in mind to handle the renovation, it’s helpful to see if they can come with you to tour the property before you extend an offer. Especially if you’re debating between two properties, a professionally trained set of eyes and someone with deep construction knowledge can help guide you on the better property to purchase.

Look for natural light
It’s challenging to replicate natural light. Looking for a home with large and strategically placed windows and doors can help eliminate extensive construction requiring exterior updates.

Consider the space and flow
When purchasing a fixer-upper, inevitably, you will likely remove some walls. However, homes with an ideal footprint or walls that can be easily removed can result in a less invasive construction project.