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Finding ficer-upper homes?
Old 07-25-2008, 03:14 PM   #1
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Finding ficer-upper homes?

The housing downturn has really affected my neck of the woods, and while I think there is a way to go, I want to start researching the prospect of buying a fixer upper. Being a homeowner for the last 7 years has taught me a lot of simple skills like paint, flooring, installing cabinets, faucets and fixtures, etc. so I'm thinking there might be some potential sweat equity gems out there in the next year. But when you search the web it's just a bunch of scam like services offering to "sell" you fixer upper info. How does one go about finding a potential home like this? Just find a realtor?

Am I crazy for even thinking of doing this while finishing a MS degree and raising two kids?
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:19 PM   #2
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Go look in the MLS near you and see what comes up. Or look at the bank owned property lists, since there should be a LOT of REO in your area.
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by laurencewill View Post
Am I crazy for even thinking of doing this while finishing a MS degree and raising two kids?
Yes. But then, you knew this answer was coming.

I did law school at night and now that we have a toddler running around, there's no way I can imagine juggling a job, school, a family life with a house of my own to upkeep, and a DIY fixer-upper project.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:16 PM   #4
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What my wife and I have done over the years (living in and eventually selling 3 fixer uppers) is to make a hobby of going to open houses every weekend or so. Over time you'll get a good idea of what the price ranges are for houses in various stages of repair. It's just like with anything else (including finances), education/knowledge is your best weapon. Also, read up on the web about the things to look at in a home. It's easy to see certain things, but others (age of roof, hvac, etc) are less obvous, and you need to know what to ask.

I doubt there's much available about buying fixer uppers on the web other than the scams you mentioned. However, there's tons about home repairs. So between reading that stuff and visiting a few dozen/hundred homes for sale, I suspect you'll learn most of what you need. Good luck.

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Old 07-25-2008, 04:44 PM   #5
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Thanks, I'm definitely not ready yet, but if housing drops another 100k I've gotta take a look.
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:47 PM   #6
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Drive around looking for 'for sale' signs and dead lawns.

Or get a realtor friend to ask around.

You going to rent it or flip it?

Oh yeah...dont do it!!!
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:56 PM   #7
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Thanks, I'm definitely not ready yet, but if housing drops another 100k I've gotta take a look.
In the meantime you should prepare by watching HGTV's "Flip This House" (how it's usually supposed to be done) and "Property Ladder" (how it's never supposed to be done).

I'd advise taping it because you're going to have to rewind to truly believe some of the things that come out of the flipper's mouths.

I suspect quite a few of the Property Ladder alumni are already in business in your area!
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:20 PM   #8
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what are your intentions? sell or rent?
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:52 PM   #9
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hud.gov

Click on HUD Homes to the left.

Click on your state.

Viola.

In my area, they seem to be going for about 30% less than what they are being listed for, but you can double check in your area by going to bid statistics.
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