HomeLife Benchmark Realty

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Buying a "handyman's special" with a low down payment and fixing it up is known as "sweat equity". That is, the sweat from your hard work adds increased value to your house and money in your pocket.

Like all other forms of investment, not all properties will increase in value and give you the return you are looking for. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • No amount of work will make a potential purchaser pay a premium in a neighborhood that is in decline. Make sure good schools are nearby.
  • Look for an older home with solid construction.
  • Look for ugly wallpaper, peeling paint, horrible or worn carpets and outdated lighting. These are the features that are easy and relatively inexpensive to improve. As an added bonus, you might find some great hardwood floors under that worn out carpeting.
  • Look for functional kitchens. Older homes often have sturdy cabinets that can be refaced or painted.
  • Bathrooms, even ones with great tiles, which have poor ventilation and dim lighting, can give a shabby impression. Some paint, lights, and an exhaust fan can make a huge improvement.
  • Look for overgrown or non-existent shrubbery. You'd be surprised how much better a single weekend spent on some landscaping will make your house look.
  • Get a home inspector to make sure you are not missing any major problems.

In short, you're looking for a good house with the right things wrong with it. Things you can correct yourself without hiring outside contractors.

Happy Sweating!

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