California Fixer Upper

Who doesn’t want a deal? The idea of spending less on a house and putting in all the upgrades you like definitely has it’s appeal. But be careful of how much “TLC” is really needed. A house that has been lived in and loved by it’s owners will show, and then you’re typically just taking care of cosmetic updates. On the other hand, there are houses that have never received any maintenance over the years, and it can cost a lot of money when you start peeling back the layers. It’s not just about paint, flooring and lights. Have the previous owners ever painted the exterior, or is loaded with dry rot? Have they replaced the plumbing or electrical, or is everything corroded and in desperate need of replacement? Are there leaks under the house, or old roof leaks growing mold in your attic? Is there any ventilation in the bathrooms, or do you smell any mildew? 

A seller can easily paint over mildew or mold, which can cause health issues later when they reappear. Do your due diligence, read the inspection reports and seller disclosures. It’s a good sign when the previous owners are excited to tell you about how well they’ve maintained their house, even if they still have green shag carpet and pink tile in the bathroom. Those are the easy improvements. But tearing a house down to the studs is a different animal. It’s ok if that’s what’s needed, but be prepared for it.