Do Your Dreams Fit Your Budget?

Short Sale Home

Perhaps you think your ideal home is out of reach because your dreams don’t fit your budget. You may want to consider a foreclosure or short sale that you can renovate to add your personal style. Remember that a good contractor can estimate renovation costs.

With the housing market seemingly poised for recovery, some communities have tight inventory and prices are gradually inching upward. With a little patience and know-how, you can take advantage of lower-priced short sales and foreclosures to convert a less-than-perfect house into a home that meets your lifestyle and style needs.

Do your research

Many people immediately shy away from a distressed home thinking it will be too much trouble and money, but a foreclosure or short sale home can be a good way to find a home below your price range that you can then renovate to create your dream home. The key is to do your research beforehand so that you have a good idea of what you’re getting into.

Key areas to research

Here are some ideas for areas you may want to research.

Building records. You can check past building permits to see whether any additions have been made to the property.
Contractor estimate. It goes without saying that you may want to hire a contractor to provide an estimate for renovations and to give you a professional opinion as to whether the distressed home can indeed be converted into the home you have in mind.
Home inspection. Home inspector who can look more closely at important structural fixtures like plumbing, roofing and foundation issues.
Sales history. Previous MLS listings or the previous listing agent may have information on the home that may be of interest to you.
Neighbors. These can be a treasure trove of information about the home and its previous occupants and owners.

It may seem like a lot of work to do on a home that you may not end up buying. But you stand to save thousands of dollars in the long run if you find the right home at the right price that others have passed up because they don’t want to deal with the additional work. In the long run, going with a distressed property can pay off big time.

Photo credit: Niall Kennedy

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