When you buy a house for the purposes of renovating it, there may well be a simple equation in your head. Money spent on buying house + money spent renovating = total spend. Resale price – total spend = profit. Simple! Isn’t it? Well, maybe not. You see, on top of this you do need to consider what else is going on while you are renovating. Renovating a house is not something you can do in “dead time”, so you also have to look at how you live in the mean time.
After all, if you need to be present for the work – because you are helping to do it or because you need to monitor the project – then this cuts into time that you would ordinarily spend working and making money. If you have sold your house to buy the new one, then you will also need to take care of resettlement costs, whether you are renting or have found another solution. It is hard to live in a house which is in the middle of renovations, as anyone who has done it will tell you.
You may need to work into your budget an amount which will cover the costs of your time spent on site and your temporary accommodation. If you have borrowed in order to buy the house, you will need to at least service the mortgage on it, too. Therefore it is essential that you have a plan, and that that plan is realistic. Many people get carried away thinking of the profit that they will make, but it is important to think about the difference between gross and net profit
The “fixer-upper” is a grand tradition of real estate. Many houses go on the market needing some work before they are truly habitable. Whether your intention is to live in the house or to fix it up and sell it on for a profit, you will need to do some work one way or the other – and because of the work involved, often these houses are available for a bargain price. However, it should be noted that not every house that is available for a low price is a bargain. Sometimes, people only find this out after doing a lot of work.
A “money pit” is a house which looks like a bargain when you initially buy it, but when you come to realize the extent of the renovations that need to be done before it is even habitable you realize that you will have to spend a ludicrous amount of money. If you are selling, you may not make a profit. If you plan to live there, you’d have been better moving in to an already suitable house and paying the extra money up front. Of course, by the time you have found this out, it’s already a little late.
Before buying a house which requires work, it is always advisable to have a survey carried out on the property to find the extent of work that needs to be done. You may be pleasantly surprised, or you may get a warning that you should not proceed with the purchase. Although it costs money to have a survey done, it is still immensely preferable to buying rashly and then spending time and money putting that decision to rights
If you were offered a deal that sounded as though it was unbeatable, and it turned out that there was no risk involved for you, you’d surely take it, wouldn’t you? Most of us, if not all, would. But then throw this variable into the equation: You can only have this deal by taking advantage of the fact that a couple with three children are divorcing after one of the parents lost their job. They will sell for just over half of what they paid for the property because the bottom fell out of the market and the repayments are crippling them.
How do you feel now? Still thinking of popping open a bottle of champagne and toasting your good fortune? Well, you may well be. The fact is that there will always be misfortune in this world, and if you feel that it is excessively unkind to profit from someone else’s misfortune then there will be countless other people out there who are not at all bothered about taking that step. Obviously you would be well advised not to celebrate your good fortune in front of the family who are losing their home, but they need to sell it, and you will not be helping them by opting out of the decision.
This is how many people make their first step on the real estate ladder. Equally, others will buy houses from seized-property auctions without considering that the work that went into those homes may have been funded by drug dealing, and buying from a repossession auction is also a way of profiting from another’s misfortune if you wish to take that view of things. It’s all relative, and you are not the bad guy