We are about to buy an old cottage constructed in the forties or fifties that needs MUCHO work: the classic “fixer-upper.” It occured to me that as we progress, I might share some of our experiences so that any of you who take the same path can benefit.
Right now we are in the “gather information” phase (meeting with septic designers, electricians, contractors, etc) but before getting to this point, we had to decide whether it was worth it to purchase. This particular property can be divided so that in addition to a cute little house (at least we hope it will be cute when we finish!) we’ll have a building lot to sell. Figuring out whether a fixer upper is worth it involves having a realistic assessment of what you can sell it for when it is finished, balanced by what your budget will be. The aim is to make some money, not only to recoup what you’ve spent, but to compensate you in some fashion for your “sweat equity” — all that back-breaking work you’ve put into the project.
Although our real estate market is improving here in coastal Maine, it is still not on fire, so it is important not to think of this project as a flip. Our thinking is that we can rent the little house for a while and wait for the market to continue to improve.
I’ll include a photo when we actually own the place, and feel free to send me any questions you have.