From Fixer Upper to Home Sweet Home

Buying a fixer upper is a great way to get an incredible deal on a home. With a big imagination, a detailed plan and a lot of patience, it’s possible to turn a small investment into a big payoff.

If you don’t have experience with home repairs, it can be easy to get in over your head – or over your budget. Understanding the unique considerations of a fixer upper can help ensure that creating your dream home doesn’t turn into a money pit nightmare.

Start by hiring a licensed and experienced home inspector to provide a thorough assessment of the condition of the home you want to buy. It’s important to have an inspection done before you make an offer so you can avoid a bad investment if big problems are identified. Focus on the bones like plumbing, electrical wiring, HVAC, roof and foundation. These are the most fundamental home features, and therefore the most expensive to repair. 

The home inspector will provide you with a report that outlines all of the fixes a home requires. Use this list to identify what repairs you can handle yourself, which you’ll need to hire an expert for, and then build a realistic budget. The list will also help you prioritize and plan which projects need to be done right away and which can be postponed for later.

Once you’re ready to make an offer, it’s important to secure the right financing. Traditional mortgage loans will help you purchase a home, but they won’t provide funds for home repairs. A renovation loan, like the one offered by Origin Bank, allows you to finance a house and home improvements at the same time.

With a renovation loan, you can usually pay off repairs over a longer period of time and at a lower interest rate than with other types of financing. Many will also help cover your mortgage payments if you have to live elsewhere while improvements are being done and may include extra funds in case projects exceed their estimated costs.  

Sometimes, renovation loans will require that you take extra steps during the home buying and repair process. For example, you may need specialized inspections to the sewer lines or septic tank; roof or pest control certifications; and multiple home inspections and appraisals to evaluate the quality of work being performed. All of these are done to protect your investment and minimize costly surprises along the way.

At Origin Bank, we have a variety of home loan products and programs to choose from, including renovation loans, and expert advice to help you pick the best one for you. Visit our Mortgage Hub for helpful resources, to start your application or to contact one of our friendly, professional loan officers today.