So, you’ve found a truly special “Handyman Special”, that home that will be perfect with some hard work and TLC. You know just with a walk-through that the home needs work and time to become your dream home, but it has great bones…it just speaks to you. The wise buyer looks a little deeper and asks a few more questions before jumping in!


Tips for the Handyman Special / Fixer Upper


Home Inspection is a must for a potential fixer-upper. Hire a certified inspector, preferably one with the credentials of an engineer or experienced contractor. The report they create after the inspection can run over 20 pages, and details every potential issue that is visible to a non-destructive inspection. This will give you a very good idea of exactly what kind of TLC the home needs, and gives you a solid base on which to rest your decisions. 

Zoning is an issue, especially for older homes or mixed-use neighborhoods. Whether it’s an historic home, the set-backs prevent major additions, or you’re interested in turning the garage into your home-based business, zoning laws and ordinances will affect you if you’re thinking of making major changes to a home. Learn what your limits are before you commit. 

HOAs can also place limits on everything from additions to paint color. Obtain a copy of the HOA agreement and make sure your plans fit inside their limits. 

Professional help at some point will be a must, unless you have a contractor or architect in the family. Audition several, and check their references. Be sure you’re hiring reliable, knowledgeable, honest pros who will partner with you to turn those great bones into a showstopper. 

Tax incentives are available in some transitional neighborhoods, to encourage owners to improve the value of their properties. Ask your REALTOR about whether that’s the case in your potential home. 

Hoping to find a Handyman Special that’s perfect for you? Contact the LaBuda Team today, we’d love to help you find just the right one!


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.