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Is Rehabbing a Home the Right Decision for You?

Real Estate Broker/Owner


The decision to rehab or renovate a property is a big one. Maybe it's the perfect location but needs TLC. Maybe the bones are there but updating is mandatory. Or you need more space than the current layout provides. The temptation to buy a home and remake it into your ideal home is oh so tempting!

However - there are questions to ask yourself and honest answers to contemplate before you make a commitment to take on the task.

A good place to start is budgeting. By researching the actual price of your "dream home" you can start with a dollar amount to compare the fixer upper property and costs associated with the renovation. Will it save you money in the long run?

If you decide that rehabbing is the way to go, it's important to then figure out your realistic estimates of what it might cost.

Are you doing the work yourself? Or will you need to hire a contractor - and a plumber and an electrician and an architect, etc. - in order to complete the necessary work? Get realistic estimates of these then add twenty percent. The same with supplies, fixtures, flooring, wall treatments...

The point of these numbers is to give you the best picture of what you're undertaking, not to scare you away! Home renovations and rehabbing is notorious for going over estimates by ten, twenty or even fifty percent of a homeowner's budget. If money is not a concern, this may not be an issue. But for everyone else, these estimates are vital to planning.

The other consideration is the liveability of the home itself. If there is secure shelter in part of the house, an area for cooking and personal hygiene, then living in the house during the work shouldn't be a problem. It may be a bit tiresome but worth it if you can move right into the space while you're renovating.

When you are doing the work yourself, your timeline may be different than those who are hiring outside contractors. A realistic estimation of your time is as important as the one for your resources! Working a full time job, raising a family and heading a home rehab can take more hours in a day than currently exist! It's important to take this into consideration when making the decision.

The final point to ponder is whether or not you plan to live in the house long term or if this is a short term purchase (five years or less). Will you recoup your investment when its time to sell? There are no guarantees in today's market that a completely renovated house will yield the type of return you might expect after doing all that work. The projects which give the best returns during resale are things like adding a deck, or vinyl replacement windows. Adding rooms and upgrading energy-efficiency in the home also increase value. But that new kitchen or spa tub may not add the money that you were expecting. Discuss issues such as these with a Real Estate Professional for current market trends.

The decision to rehab a house has many components - money, time, expectations. Within each level of your plan there are questions. It's important to get as much information as you can, from research and professionals, including your Agent, in order to make the right choice for you and your family.

If you're thinking about purchasing a home for renovation and rehabbing in Staten Island, New York or Brooklyn, New York, call RE/MAX Metro or please visit www.remaxmetrony.com. We have locations at 585 North Gannon Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314, 655 Rossville Ave., Staten Island 10309, 95-04 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11209 (Bay Ridge) and 70-24 18th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11204 (Bensonhurst). Contact me or your local office with any of your real estate questions or needs.