10 areas where buyers make mistakes
10 mistakes buyers make | Part 2: Choosing the right house
8. Fixer-upper mistakes
By Rona Fischman
September 12, 2008
Before considering a fixer-upper, you need to think about the costs of the endeavor.
Underestimating the cost and time required
Home repair is far more expensive and time-consuming than most first-time home buyers imagine. Not having enough saved is a recipe for foreclosure.
Estimate costs for labor and materials before buying a fixer-upper, and include time-related expenses. Will you miss time from work to haggle with your contractors? Will you need to do some of the work yourself? Will you need to rent another home during construction?
Once you total up your renovation and repair costs, remember the "Murphy's Law of Home Repair" and add another 25 percent for unforeseen expenses.
Underestimating the stress of home repair
A contractor that I admire tells his clients about the high divorce rate among people who live at home while their kitchens are rebuilt. Although this is an unproven statistic, the stress is real.
Breathing lead dust from demolished walls can increase blood lead levels. This increase can cause neurological damage to people of any age, but children are most vulnerable. In addition to lead, there may be asbestos and other toxins that would be freed during renovation.