Let’s cut to it, the housing market can feel like a scary place. In most large cities, there is fierce competition to find properties worth investing in. The good news is that if you are patient enough, and know what you are looking for, you can end up with a fantastic opportunity worth your effort. You should aim your focus on finding that diamond in the rough. When thinking of houses, that gem is the classic Fixer-Upper.

The best part about fixer-uppers is that they save you a lot of money up front. This gives you a hefty security egg to fall back on. You also end up with the resources to achieve a home worthy of some media attention. We’ve all seen those articles or TV shows that showcase the transformation of a house from falling-apart to a work of art. This can be your reality too, so it’s important to understand how to choose the right fixer-upper.

Some fixer-uppers will ultimately pay you dividends. The estimated amount of work is deceiving, with a few coats of paint and some minor remodeling of the kitchen, your dreams come to life. The problem is that many fixer-uppers are sneaky money traps. They come with poltergeists creating an endless sea of expensive situations for you to deal with.

Buying a house is a pretty serious commitment. You can either end up with a palace you’ll call your own, or wake up with an unnerving sense of regret. The trick is to accurately appraise the property and work out its price against how much this fixer-upper will cost over time.

Blinds Canada is here today with more than words of caution. We know all about fixer-upper properties and come equipped with our recommendations. Before you sign anything, make sure to do your own detailed inspection. Below you’ll find some tips on what you should be looking for.

The foundation

You have finally found a fixer-upper and are ready to move forward. Its design is remarkable, the location somehow makes your life easier and you are certain this is your new home. Since you are a wise prospective property owner you start inspecting the foundation. The entire structure is literally built on this key element. Any defects in the foundation may not turn into a problem right away, but inevitably something will happen. When you get the bill after the extensive repairs are complete, you will immediately realize why this fixer-upper was on the market for such a cheap price.

We don’t expect you to start banging on the foundation of this fixer-upper to test its structural integrity. Instead we think you should look for cracks, off-track doors and especially signs of pooled water. You do not want to deal with water-damage so make sure to also check for damp conditions inside the basement. If you have any reason to think the foundation is weak or damaged, you should reconsider your choice entirely.

The wiring

Werely on electricity being available all over our home. We’ve grown accustomed to multiple outlets in every room, light switches on the walls and a few other modern luxuries. The thing about fixer-uppers is that they are often older houses from another era. There is a serious risk behind purchasing a property with substandard wiring. An example is that you may find out a certain plug it cuts your power entirely when used. Outdated wiring may leave you with the living stereotype of having to learn the quarks of what it takes to make your fixer-upper behave normally. Then you need to consider the risk of faulty sockets leading to a fire or any number of genuine hazards.

You should test every single outlet and make sure they all work. More importantly, make sure there are enough of them to support your household. Flick every single light switch, make sure to identify if any are circuit breakers. Open the electric panel and see if you are working with fuses or switches. The older your home is a greater likelihood that at some point work will need to be done on your wiring. If you aren’t skilled enough to run the evaluation yourself, it will save you a lot of money in the long run to consult an expert now.

The roof

It can be argued that the roof is worth inspecting with the same severity as the foundation. Its primary role is to keep you and your family safe and dry. A leaking roof may not seem like a big deal at first, but water damage only multiplies over time. If left unattended it can damage the foundation and as we mentioned earlier these are repairs you do not want to pay for. It would take the great price of this fixer-upper and turn it into a financial nightmare.

Your best bet is to climb up onto the roof yourself and look at the condition it’s in. If it looks like the shingles are cracked or curling, there could be an unforeseen expense about to pop into your life. Extensive stains could be indicative of water damage. Watch for any kind of storm damage like dents, pockmarks or missing shingles. If the roof is in good condition, this fixer-upper remains a valid contender.

The plumbing

Another key part of our 21st century living experience is easily accessible water. In many cases, we don’t even realize how essential it is until it becomes limited or unavailable. If your fixer-upper fails to come with plumbing that is up to par, you may be in for some rough times. Pipes are hidden behind the walls, under the floors and for the most part are not visible. A sewage backup or a flooded bathroom creates an uncomfortable mess to clean and usually comes with the dreaded water damage. You want to avoid this as much as possible.

The best way to make sure the electricity worked was to test it and the same thing is true when dealing with plumbing for your fixer upper. Flush every toilet more than once. You want to make sure that the toilets are strong enough to be functional and that the water fills up again after it has been used. Check the base of the toilet for any water stains or leaks. Turn on every faucet, including shower heads, and make sure that the hot water and pressure are stable. If there are any fluctuations, there may be blockages in the pipes or a faulty water heater.

The carpet

If the fixer-upper has carpets, it is worth the effort to include this in your checklist. You may have no intentions of keeping these carpets but you need to see what is hidden underneath. You want to rule out water-damaged floorboards, mildew and mold. Verify what materials we reused to build the floor. You may even discover that beneath the carpet there is a stunning hardwood floor. After a bit of cleaning and polishing it can be fully restored, bringing your home to a new level.

Head over to the corners of each room and pull up the carpet and padding. You are searching for the same kinds of damage as mentioned earlier. It’s a good idea to take note of the general condition of your floor, if it was made of plywood, you can expect to budget for repairs if you don’t want to keep the carpeting.

The doors and windows

Depending on where you live, the seals around doors and windows may not be on your mind when you are inspecting a fixer-upper. We acknowledge this may not be the costliest thing to deal with after the fact but that all depends on when you notice your home’s insulation is sub-par. Whether it’s heating or air conditioning, over time there can be significant savings that come with properly sealed doors and windows. Remember that the mission is to evaluate the cost of the fixer-upper against all the work you’ll need to put into it.

Don’t be shy about pulling back curtains or raising blinds to see if there are cracks or small openings along the edges of the windows. Make sure that when your windows are closed no draft can find its way inside. Check all your doorframes and see if the doors fit correctly. When a door isn’t fluid in its motion, there is a good chance you’ll need to replace the hinges. With outside-facing doors, you need to make sure the condition is pristine, it will have to last in any kind of weather. If you have any doubt, it’s better to get a new door.

Tell us what you thought of our list? Did we miss anything you feel is worth taking into consideration when choosing a fixer-upper? Let us know in the comments.