in partnership
Is a fixer-upper the right choice for you?

Should you invest in a fixer-upper? Here’s what you need to know.

You might think you have what it takes to replace Chip and Joanna Gaines. But tackling a fixer-upper is a lot harder than it looks on HGTV.

Investing in a property that needs some work could be the best choice for some people—but is it the right one for you? Find out if the house you want to make your home is worth the price:

Do you have the right kind of loan?

You’ve been pre-approved for a loan—congratulations! But keep in mind, the loan you need for one house may not be the best for another. If you’re set on buying a fixer-upper, check with a qualified expert about special programs your local or state government might offer.

One to consider? A home equity loan or line of credit. A home equity loan, according to the Federal Trade Commission, is a loan for a fixed amount of money that’s secured by your home. You repay the loan with equal monthly payments over a fixed term (similar to your mortgage). It’s easier to qualify for than other types of loans, and typically have lower interest rates than other loans. But there is a limit to how much you can borrow. And if you don’t pay your debt, the lender might have the ability to sell your home to satisfy what you owe.

Is the location absolutely perfect?

The key to real estate? Location, location, location. You want to make sure the house you’re interested in can provide you with the best return.

Check average home prices in the area, do some research on the school district, and walk around the neighborhood to see how other houses on the block are maintained. Experts say that if you buy a home in need of a lot of work on a street full of homes that also need a lot of work, the remodel won’t pay off. Buy the worst house on the best block you can afford.

Does the house have “good bones?”

There’s a difference between a house that needs a few touch-ups and a house that should have been demolished. Most people who invest in a fixer-upper do so because it will make them more money in the long run. That’s only true if the house doesn’t run you dry at the start.

A house with “good bones” is one that’s structurally built—meaning it’s got a solid roof and foundation, decent quality materials, natural light, a good floor plan, and coherent design. A home renovation cost calculator can help you determine how good of bones the house has and if it’s worth the investment.

Many real estate agents recommend avoiding houses that need major structural improvements. Things like foundation upgrades, roof and wall work, and plumbing overhauls are usually “invisible” and don’t raise the value of the house enough to offset the cost of renovation.

Are you handy?

As you can imagine, renovation is usually cheaper if you don’t have to outsource most of the work—meaning you’re able to pitch in. If you’re the hands-on type and know how to install cabinets, lay carpet, and replace doors, you could be ready for the long haul. But if the handiest thing you’ve ever done is replace a light bulb, crunch the numbers to see if hiring a repair crew is cheaper than just buying a newer house.

Are your patience levels high?

The average home renovation takes between four and eight months. But this is all dependent on the size and scope of the remodeling. And always, always be prepared to go over your allotted time. If you’re the type of person who wants everything done right away, a fixer-upper might not be for you.

If all else fails, HGTV is always looking for new guests.

In a market with countless mortgage options, start your home-buying journey with a reliable credit union that emphasizes straightforward and dedicated service. Apply for an Adjustable or Fixed rate mortgage through Lafayette Federal Credit Union by July 31st and they’ll delay your first payment due date by up to three months!* Visit to learn more.

Find the perfect home, connect with an experience agent, and earn rewards along the way with Lafayette Federal’s new HomeAdvantage program!