Q & A: Fixer-Uppers

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  1. Are fixer-uppers a good investment?
  2. Are there government programs for rehab?
  3. Are there loan programs for fixer-upper homes?
  4. Are there tax credits available for historical renovations?
  5. What are some guidelines to follow when hiring a contractor?
  6. What is considered a fixer-upper?
  7. What kind of return is there on remodeling jobs?

Are fixer-uppers a good investment?

A fixer-upper, which is a distressed property requiring maintenance or renovation, can be a good investment if the property is bought and refurbished at a cost below market value. Unforeseen expenses can occur with distressed properties, and therefore buyers should educate themselves on the renovation process and work with an experienced real estate agent who can help guide their fixer-upper search.

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Are there government programs for rehab?

Yes, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a 203 (k) loan program specifically for “handyman specials and fixer-uppers”. The 203(k) program allows you to acquire a loan for the property with the costs of repairs included in the loan. Buyers must work with a HUD 203(k) approved lender and meet program requirements. Visit the HUD website, for more information.

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Are there loan programs for fixer-upper homes?

Yes, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a 203 (k) loan program specifically for “handyman specials and fixer-uppers”. The 203(k) program allows you to acquire a loan for the property with the costs of repairs included in the loan. Buyers must work with HUD 203(k) approved lender and meet program requirements. Visit the HUD website, www.hud.gov, for more information.

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Are there tax credits available for historical renovations?

Yes, there are federal tax credits for the rehabilitation and preservation of historical buildings (generally credits range between 10-20% of cost). In addition, some states also offer tax incentives. There are qualifications that must be met in order to receive the tax credits; interested homeowners should contact their state’s preservation office for more details.

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What are some guidelines to follow when hiring a contractor?

Hiring a contractor can be an overwhelming process. To ease the process, speak with your friends and family and ask them if they have any contractors they would recommend using. Your real estate agent is another good source for references. Prior to hiring any contractor, interview multiple candidates and discuss with them their business history, experience and pricing. Also ask for proof of insurance and references and contact both to confirm the contractor’s information. By researching the contractors first, you will be able to make a well-informed decision that you can feel confident in.

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What is considered a fixer-upper?

A fixer-upper is defined as a distressed property that requires maintenance or renovation. Fixer-uppers can be found in all areas and neighborhoods, and in all price ranges. These homes are generally priced below market value to accommodate the cost and time needed to update the home. Since buyers can obtain low prices on fixer-uppers, they can be advantageous to those looking for a ‘deal’. But just because a home is a fixer-upper, does not mean the property will be a deal. Unforeseen expenses can occur with distressed properties, and therefore buyers should educate themselves on the renovation process and work with an experienced real estate agent who can help guide their fixer-upper search.

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What kind of return is there on remodeling jobs?

Remodeling Magazine releases a Cost vs. Value report each year on US remodeling jobs. Returns vary depending on market conditions and local areas, as well as the specific type of job. Visit Remodeling Magazine’s website, to see the facts and figures for your area.

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