(Closed) House advice – what's your perspective on this situation?

posted 4 years ago in Home
  • poll: Would you buy a house you didnt love with a ton of potential?
    Yes, of course! Short term pain, long term gain! : (47 votes)
    76 %
    No way! I need move in ready and/or have to love a home before I buy it : (15 votes)
    24 %
  • Post # 2
    9230 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 2010

    Location does trump all.  Real estate is too often an emotional purchase.  You’re really fortunate to have a partner who can do the renos & save you the labor costs.

    Could you love it once the renos are done?

    The soundest rule in real estate is to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood.

    Take this from someone with a broker’s license who has invested heavily in real estate over the years–too often with disastrous outcomes because I didn’t follow the location, location, location rule & bought property I “loved”.

    Even if you plan to make this your forever home, plans can change.  Always keep one eye on future resale value.



    Post # 3
    4524 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2015

    Yes, I would. We are under contract on a place that needs work, but is selling for 50k less than homes in the same community. To us, it’s completely worth needing to put work in. Because of the low price, we’re able to do quite a bit now, but some things may have to be updated over time, and we’ll have to live with some ugly tile for now.

    Post # 4
    4518 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    You shouldn’t think of buying a home as an investment. Think of it as a living cost that you may or may not get partial reimbursement for somewhere down the road. 

    Even if you sell your home at a higher price than you bought it for (eventually), that doesn’t guarantee a profit. All of your renovation work, property taxes, maintenance costs, and opportunity costs chip away at your profit. It’s much better not to think of it as an investment and instead just buy what you would if you knew you would never get your money back. That will make your life much less stressful.

    Post # 5
    353 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    I’m actually sat waiting, dreaming of a find just like that 🙂 I love the idea of making a place my own, but being able to afford in a nice area is definitely a huge bonus. I think you need to go back and see it, take paper and pens, and really try to imagine what you would do with it.

    Just bear in mind your budgets/timescale to do up different parts of the house – my parents lived in a house 15 years which was a ‘do-er up-er’ and only just had it done before they left (but they re-did the whole thing!)

    Post # 6
    4675 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    I think you and your husband need to look at what’s important to you and factor that into your decision.  Yes location is important, but if you are living in this house long term, it’s important to factor other things in too.  What don’t you love about the place?  Is this something that will change after the renos?  We bought a fixer-upper home, but it was also a home that I loved in spite of it’s problems.  Over the summer, we have been redoing the kitchen.  It is great to be able to transform a horrible kitchen into something you love, and that fits your tastes.  It has sucked to have to deal with living in a construction zone, but now that it’s nearing completion the whole thing has been worth it.  

     Does the location suit you and your DH?  Our last apartment was in a very nice neighborhood.  Beautiful, up kept homes, neighborhood association, ect.  Last year we purchased our first home.  The neighborhood we purchased in is more blue collar, houses are not as nice or fancy, ect.  But, all summer I have been watching the neighborhood kids play with one another.  They’re in each others front yards, running around, and having fun.  This reminded me a lot of my early childhood, and I’ve come to greatly value this over the nice fancy neighborhood, where is rarely saw the kids outside playing.  

    Yes, resale value is important.  But, if you plan on living in this home long-term and raising kids in this home, I think it’s also important that the home fits you and your Darling Husband, and your needs.  

    Post # 7
    509 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2012


    somethingblue04:  Wow, I feel for you OP. I read this thread with interest b/c we are looking for a house right now too. All the advice from PPs has been great & even though it’s conflicting, it all makes sense. So confusing!

    I do agree with the comment that house buying is commonly an emotional decision and we all know that there is not a lot of room for emotion in business so that can cost us.

    Sorry I don’t have any advice but I want to say congrats & good luck! This is a huge deal & a major life event so try to enjoy the process as much as you can.

    Post # 8
    7311 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

    I don’t love the interior of our home at all. I tolerate it, and know it can be changed in due time. However, I LOVE our neighborhood, our lot, our neighbors, our schools, etc. A house that I loved inside and out, in this area, runs about $950k. That’s more than we want to spend. So we spent $500k on a house that we can make into the home we love over time. This is the house we plan to stay in until we retire, so we have the time.

    That said, our house was in good condition, just outdated. The roof was only 2 years old, there were no leaks (and potential water damage that couldn’t be seen from said leaks, like mold) and it had functional bathrooms. A good roof was a MUST HAVE for us. No matter how much we loved a house, if it had a bad roof and water damage, then we immediately crossed it off of our list. I didn’t want to deal with mold.

    Post # 9
    5955 posts
    Bee Keeper

    When I bought my house, I loved the location of the house.  Now that I’ve had a child, it’s not the best house for a child to grow up in. It’s a starter home for a couple, not a family.  I love the location and it is very close to my husband’s work, so that helps out a lot on gas, but there are definitely things I don’t like about the house.  Small nearly non existent kitchen area, and we cook a lot now (since my husband moved in, when he was originally my boyfriend).  We also don’t really have a laundry area.

    think about it like this: can you the location and the people changing over the years?  Is it close to places you like to frequent?  Because honestly, if you love the location and there are just some issues with the house ,then I would say fix it up.  In my particular area, it was all about location.  Despite the houses being relatively the same size, they were all high in price.  Is this the home you can see raising your children in?  Having a family?  etc?

    Post # 10
    3039 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    We just bought a house with lots of potential, but also tons of things that we need to do to realise that potential. We never hesitated, because: we both love renovating, we’re both very creative, we’re both very optimistic (sometimes to default) and we have quite a bit of experience in home renovations. Plus, we know that we work great as a team and we’re always on the same page. That said, it’s HARD work and some days I feel totally overwhelmed. There’s no “Moving in BBQ at our place”, because the oven is disconnected and you have to learn to live with a minimum of comfort.

    If TTC is a while off, and you think you can learn at least some basic renovation skills (so that your husband isn’t stuck with ALL the work himself), I would say, “Do it”. If TTC is in the cards sooner rather than later, you should really think it through. I’m currently 6 months pregnant, and that means that I’m seriously working against the clock – if you don’t like renovations and aren’t used to the Spartan lifestyle it brings along… well, you might be in for some serious drama.  

    EDIT – an after thought, just to give you an idea of things I have realized that I have to be “cool with”… this is our nursery at this point in time:

    Only that it’s also completely full with boxes and construction material right now. So in three months time we need to rip out all the kitchen stuff, deal with the plumbing, tear out the carpet to get to the hardwood floor underneath and do everything else you need to do in order to make a room cozy and practical. That on top of everything else that’s going on in the house… Some days I think we’re crazy for doing this right now, but then again – I look at the lot size and dream of all the things it will allow us to do in the future and that calms me down. Buying a house that requires a lot of work will definitely teach you one thing – PATIENCE! 🙂

    Post # 11
    5892 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2010

    somethingblue04:  Do you like the bones of the house? Can you make some changes now that make bearable?

    We bought a house in a neighborhood we love. But the house was kind of a pit. I was being used as a boarding house (that at one time we think had up to 18 people living in a 2400sqft 1960’s ranch house). It was dirty, had surface mold on the walls, lots of wires all over the place, unlnadscaped backyard and a very outdated kitchen, masterbath and main bath. But we got it for $65,000 less than the exact same house in better condition (that sold the same month) next door to us. 

    Before we moved in we had it cleaned and painted. Now we are slowly making it better. But two years later we had it reappraised to get a Line of Credit and it’s worth $65,000 more. So yeah, totally worth it for us. 

    If you dont plan on being in the house for the rest of your life, buy a house that will go up in value the most so you can roll that profit into the next house you really want. 

    Post # 12
    4698 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    I don’t buy houses because they give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I buy them because of the money making potential.

    My Fiance and I have bought 2 condos, both pre- construction in up and coming areas. We made a lot of money off our first home and have already made money off our second one. Which isn’t even finished being built yet. I want our home to make us money, not just provide us with a roof over our head.

    I think you have an awesome opportunity to modify a home to your liking and make some money in the process. It is true that its all about location and I think the annoyance of construction will be worth it.. ESPECIALLY since you don’t have to pay someone to do the work for you!

    Post # 14
    10603 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: January 2011

    No, major renos were just not something I wanted to deal with, and neither did Darling Husband.

    Everything didn’t have to be perfect, there was a location where the finishes made me love the house, but the location wasn’t great.  We went for a house in a great location that we really liked that could use some minor, cosmetic stuff.

    Post # 15
    3039 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    somethingblue04: For the home inspection – check for mould but also keep asbestos in mind. Your house inspector will probably only find it if it’s in places such as a forced air heating system (wall mounted outlets) but you might also have to deal with it around pipes and in popcorn/swirly ceilings if the house has those. If you have asbestos, you can still buy the house (we did), but you have to budget (or make an amendment) for having it professionally removed.

    As a pp pointed out, if the people that live there have let it degrade to the state it’s in now – don’t expect any favours. The former owner of our house: left the garden a dump, broken old appliances in the shed, old broken stuff in the basement and took the upstairs stove but the downstairs fridge (it was two rental units, we’re converting it back into a one family house) and a bunch of other unhelpful things. Oh, and he claimed he had paid tax up until the move and a little bit beyond, and insisted that we would pay him $25 for the extra days… well, we just found out that he lied. Meaning that not only did the cheque that we wrote for the following quarter went to the previous one, but the city has also added interest since April. Not a huge amount of money in itself, but so dishonest and annoying to have to deal with (thankfully our lawyer said he will take it from here)!

    As for the renovation part – ask yourself, what things can you live without? Because renovations are way easier if there’s as little stuff as possible around the place. For us it meant that we slept the first month and a bit on an air mattress on the floor. Hadn’t it been for me putting my foot down a month ago (so difficult to get up from the floor to pee in the middle of the night) we would still be on it. Now we have A BED and it’s pretty much the most luxurious thing I’ve ever encountered. 🙂 Apart from that – not much more in terms of comfort. So talk to your husband about how he envisions the reno process:

    1) How long does he think it will take? The number one thing I’ve learnt through the years we worked on Darling Husband family cottage is that it always takes longer than you expect – this is the part where patience comes in handy!

    2) How much time can he spend on the renos? I’m at home right now, so I do renovations through the day, we do a little together after dinner and then it’s all we do as a team during the weekends. It means that while progress is slow most days, the house is still constantly moving forward

    3) Your personal belongings – is there a place in the house where you could set up basecamp? We have one room where we have the bed and we keep renos away from it for now. It’s the only “safe zone”

    4) Tools – does your husband have everything he needs or will you have to buy a lot of new ones? If so, know that you’ll soon learn to know the staff at Home Depot! And there will most likely be tools everywhere…

    I think my most important tip is – if you know that you’re a person that doesn’t deal well with stress, don’t do it. You have to be able to laugh about the fact that your nursery is a kitchen 3 months away from delivery or you’ll break down! For us, renovations bring out the best in us as a couple – we become this amazing team, but I could see people breaking up over it if they were on totally different pages. Good luck with your decision!

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