Is it better to purchase a fixer-upper?
That depends on what your overall goals are, and if those goals make financial sense. The neighborhood will have a natural ceiling price. It may not pay to take a run-down house in a run-down neighborhood and fix it up. Instead, find a house that needs some work that's priced considerably below its peers in that same neighborhood.
Also, avoid homes with structural defects, as these are the most costly, and most risky to repair. Make sure to do your due diligence before making a purchase. Get inspections. Have contractors come out and give you a bid on proposed improvements before you make an offer.
Be aware that homes with undesirable floor plans are going to be difficult to sell, even after getting a face-lift.
Think about your financing needs for the purchase, as well as financing for improvements. Ideally, you should get a single loan to cover both costs. Loans like these are available via the FHA 203(k) program, Fannie Mae's HomeStyle loans and Freddie Mac's Renovation Mortgage loan. HUD also has a plan called Title 1 for homeowners looking for a loan.
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*Disclaimer. Q&A’s are for marketing purposes only and are not intended to offer real estate advice to non-represented parties. Please consult with a real estate professional under their contractual representation for answers to your real estate questions.