fixer upper

Should I Buy a Fixer Upper, New Build, Single Detached or Town Home?


When you initially consider buying a home, you most likely have a pretty good idea of what you want — at least you might think you do. However as you consider your budget and what it will buy, you’ll begin to see that you have several options. As you consider your plan, you will recognize that various kinds of houses will provide different benefits and have different (non monetary) costs or pros and cons, if you will.

The big four

The following four types of homes are offered in our market. Each have various and very different lifestyle choices.

Purchasing a Fixer Upper

There are a lot of TV shows that make buying the fixer-upper look like a romantic holiday. Even people who do not have a tight budget are wondering if they might buy something a little rough and massage it into a masterpiece. Absolutely nothing is as simple as it looks on the TV!

The Pros of a Fixer Upper.

1. Personalization – If you do not feel like a home is really yours until you replace the counter tops, paint the whole place a colour of your choice and install brand-new lighting fixtures, a fixer upper might be best for you.
2. Handiness – Some individuals take a lot of pleasure in working with their hands. If adding new crown moulding and baseboards, laying tile and bringing an old brown lawn back to life feels more like a hobby than work to you, then you might actually delight in purchasing a “project property”.
3. Price – Move in ready homes sell at a premium. Houses that need work often sell for below true market value.
4. City centre – Fixer uppers are usually older homes in older neighbourhoods. Core neighbourhoods are well in demand these days. Your sweat equity will pay dividends.

The Cons of a Fixer Upper.

1. Ownership cost – A fixer upper might end up costing you more than a move in ready home. You never know what kinds of problems you might find once you start a major renovation.
2. Construction life – Building projects take time. Living in a construction zone is not fun. If you have children, a time-intensive job or something else in your life that will make it tough to devote the time it takes to living in an incomplete home, you may want to postpone renovating until a different phase of life.

Buying a Move-in Ready Single Family Home.

Move-in ready homes are often the most preferable due to the fact that they typically provide you the most features (and benefits) — they have upgraded and modern in-demand features and creature comforts.

The Pros of a Move-in Ready Home.

1. The most significant pro of a move-in ready home is clearly apparent: it’s move-in ready! Just move in and start living.
2. A move-in ready home has taken care of all those little problems over the years, so the maintenance costs will be lower than a fixer upper. Generally, you need to budget 1% to 2% of the purchase price of your home per year for home upkeep. For a move in ready home it will likely be on the lower end of that spectrum. PRO TIP: Start a reserve fund for future maintenance projects like a new roof or a new furnace no matter what kind of home you buy.

The Cons of a Move-in Ready Home.

1. Price – Because move-in ready homes appeal to the majority of the market, they tend to sell at a premium. You might have more competition for a move-in ready home and thus less room to negotiate aggressively.
2. Style – You might not agree with some of the seller’s design choices and it is always a shame to replace something that is brand new but not to your taste.

Buying an Attached Home.

Connected houses (townhomes, row houses, link houses and semi-detached homes) provide a unique way of life that will not attract everyone. But there are some great advantages to “connected” houses and some specific things you ought to keep an eye out for if you are going to buy one.

The Pros of Purchasing an Attached Home.

1. Connected houses have less maintenance due to the smaller yard space.
2. Close neighbours – This can be a pro or a con. Having neighbours close by can be great for developing relationships and feeling part of a neighbourhood.
3. Price – Connected homes are less expensive than similar single household houses. A large component to the price of a house is the price of the land. Attached homes have smaller footprints.
4. Outdoor Play Area – If you are like me, you will have memories of childhood that consists of riding bikes through the community and playing with pals on community streets. Townhouse communities in Waterloo Region are still like this with trails and pools and play areas and green spaces, tennis courts…

The Cons of Buying an Attached Home.

1. Noise – Townhouses generally have far better soundproofing than apartments. However, when living in close quarters with shared walls, you are bound to hear the neighbours from time to time.
2. Parking – Parking is often limited in the townhome communities. Before purchasing, inquire about designated spaces and extra guest parking.

Purchasing New Construction.

Maybe you’re considering buying a new home?

The Pros of Purchasing New.

1. Choose Your Colours and Features – What a great chance to pick your colours, counter tops, cabinets and fixtures precisely to your preference!
2. Lower Expenses – Since the home is new, the components will be new and often under warranty. You will not have to worry about unexpected costs (like a new furnace) with a new home.
3. Make It Your Neighbourhood – When we first moved back to Canada, we moved into a brand new townhouse complex. Since everyone else was new too, we formed a really tight group and we used to get together for barbecues and other things. We built brand-new friendships that remain today!

The Cons of Buying New.

1. Location – Many new neighbourhoods are on the outer fringes of cities.
2. Landscaping – New home completion dates aren’t arranged around the very best time to put in a yard. If your home is completed in the dead of winter or the hottest part of the summer, the yard seeded or sodded by the contractor might not survive up until the suitable season for grass growing — and growing grass is not as easy as it looks, take it from me. (And you are going to need a lot of watering.)
3. Cost – New build is generally more expensive than existing houses. And if they aren’t, you ought to seriously question the craftsmanship. Brand-new construction houses are paying today’s labor rate for all work done, today’s shipping expenses and today’s land costs. All those things are more pricey than they were even a few years back.
4. Value and Resale – This is especially important if you are purchasing in a brand-new neighbourhood with a lot of new construction to pick from. Brand-new building prices can be the most unpredictable to shifts in the market.
5. Completion Delay – Many things can affect new construction completion dates. Weather can keep workers from finishing some jobs. Lengthy waits for the building inspector can bring building to a stand still. If you’re waiting for the electrical certification to be released and examination to be completed, the drywall team can’t well start their part of the job. Or shipping might be postponed. Shipping can be affected by weather condition and disasters far from your area. When things get delayed, your move-in date might get pushed back.