Seeing the hidden potential of a fixer upper

The glamor couples of our era, the ones we all want to be like and hang out with, aren’t movie or sports stars and they certainly aren’t the stars of reality TV. There’re much more down to earth than that.

For thousands of fans, their favorite on-screen couple is one of the many who can be seen on TV everyday, renovating houses, knocking down walls and transforming dumps into beautiful homes.

Sorry Brad and Angelina, Chip and Joanna win out. 

Naturally, we want to emulate these stars. This doesn’t mean we want to wear what they wear, necessarily. Rather, we want to find that beat-up old house and work some of our own magic on it.

If you have the fixer-upper bug and are thinking of buying a house that needs renovation, there are a few things you should know before you go out and look for a sad abode to transform into a palace.


Number one, of course, is location. You can renovate a home to suit your lifestyle, but you can’t really renovate the location. So make sure you’re picking a house in an area where you want to live.

Secondly, while cabinets can go and the floor can be torn out, you don’t want to be stuck with a bad foundation. There are some projects you just don’t want to do. One of the worse situations you can find yourself in is having to sink a lot of money into a house just to make it structurally sound.

You want a home with good bones: A sensible floor plan, good natural lighting, solid foundation, good windows, a mold-free basement (be wary of any sign of leaking in the basement), and a good roof. 

Layout and cosmetics

Many old houses have a lot of walls and a lot of rooms. For today’s open-concept style, this means some walls might have to come down.

Before you buy, make sure you have enough budgeted for large-scale renovations such as taking down walls. From there, try to identify the biggest changes you would need to make. Ideally, you'll only have to tackle cosmetic issues that involve taking down press board and shag carpet from the '70s.

Also, you don't have to make every renovation at once. Think about what you can put off for a few more years. A big part of the excitement in those home-renovation shows is watching the house get transformed. Yours might take a little longer, but the journey along the way will be immensely satisfying.

To find a fixer upper in your area, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor® today. They know this city well and can help you find that special home you'll be able to transform into the home of your dreams.

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