According to a recent report in the Business Insider, you need to check on four items before buying a fixer-upper. The following tips can save you headaches or frustrations, so it is good knowledge to know.
Check the Zoning Ordinance
Because a municipality features zoning districts, you have to find out what uses are permitted. Knowing this information is essential so you can find out what can and cannot be done in a home.
For example, you may buy a home in a historic district. If so, you may need to follow certain requirements that include the installation of single-pane windows or the repair and maintenance of a unique brick-pier facing. To research a home’s zoning requirements, you need to visit a municipality’s website or schedule an appointment with a municipal staff member who can review the legalities with you.
Contact a Home Inspector
As soon as you have verbalized an agreement to purchase a house, you need to contact a home inspector. The home instructor will look at structural issues and advise you on anything that needs replacement, such as electricity, roofing or plumbing.
If your broker refers you to a home inspector, make sure they are not biased as you need someone with an objective opinion. Therefore, if you can do so, hire an inspector who will work for you, not the seller or broker. Make sure you set some time aside to walk through the house with the inspector too. That way, you can acquaint yourself with the property.
While most home buyers ask questions about termites and asbestos, it is also essential to ask about the age of certain systems and when they will need replacement. For example, a water heater that is 25 years old will probably need replacement in the near future while a newly-installed heating and ventilation system probably won’t be an issue for another two decades.
You may also want to ask the inspector about problems that are specific to a locale. For example, in some cities, the water mains tend to be older. Therefore, you will need to confirm that the mains in your home are not made of lead. Also, you should ask about the electrical system. Is it adequate or does it need an upgrade?
Hire an Architect
Hiring an architect is helpful to anyone buying a fixer-upper as he or she can advise you on what you can do design-wise. The architect can also point out any load-bearing walls, and determine whether or not they can be moved. Obtain the opinions of more than one architect to ensure your design enhancements will improve your property overall.
Review Tax Incentives
Depending on your location, you may be able to receive a tax credit or abatement for any improvements undertaken on your real estate.