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Lee Will, Home Buyer in Modesto, CA

We are looking to buy a house that needs a lot of work.How do we prioritize it?

Asked by Lee Will, Modesto, CA Fri Jun 20, 2008

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I would prioritize based on your living needs. I would suggest targeting the areas to make the home structurally safe and livable and then take care of the areas that you will need for your living quality. After these are taken care of I would suggest the cosmetic updates such as wallpapering etc.... that are for asthetic updates.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2008
Lee:

Although I am not from your area and therefore cannot help you directly with your situation, I felt compelled to bring a possible alternative solution to your dilema. Helping people into the home of their dreams makes my heart sing and I am singing as I write this to you.

Looking at the price point of homes in the Riverbank area, it appears that they definitely fall within FHA pricing guidelines. Have you considered purchasing your home with an FHA 203K rehab loan and being able to do the majority, if not all of the work right away? If the total work is $35K or less, you can do a streamline program that is pretty painless, and have the funds to do the work right away. Over $35K you have to jump through a few hoops, but they may well be worth it. Think of spending a couple hundred dollars a month extra on your mortgage and not having to live in a construction zone for the next 2 to 5 years. If you can envision having your cake and eating it too and this sounds like something you might want to look into, I would be happy to provide you with a referral to the King of FHA 203K (who just happens to work at Wells Fargo, so you would be dealing with a direct lender and not through a broker). Just contact me know through my profile.

Wishing you great joy in your homebuying journey and Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis
Real Estate Consultant
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2008
The structure must be sound first and foremost. Work your way down from the roof (strusses-if visible from the attic), then the exterior walls and basement (if there is one). Check for leaks and the presence of mold (a potentially dangerous substance) Also check for termite and other insect infestation.
The electrical and plumbing systems would be next, which leads to the following suggestion.
Save yourself a lot of potential grief and hire a licensed home inspector, approved by your state or local government. The average cost of such an inspection would be less than $500. If the home needs a "lot of work" have a pro check it out.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 20, 2008
This may be oversimplifying a bit. But:

Top priority goes to items that deal with your safety and the preservation of the value of the property. So: Broken doors. Broken windows. Leaking roof. Non-functional HVAC. Mold. Water seeping into the basement. New wiring, as needed.

Then focus on things that will improve the quality of your life. A lot of people wait too long to do these things, but you bought the house to live in. Maybe not all at once, but room by room. The kitchen, if you can afford it. Certainly the master bathroom. Maybe the other bathrooms, if your budget allows.

Then take your choice between upgrades--finishing the basement, for instance--or additional internal enhancements. But by the time you get to this stage, your home ought to be safe and sound, fully liveable, and even enjoyable.

Work out a budget. Determine what items fit into that first category, dealing with your safety and security. That's got to be your top priority, and done as soon as possible. Even there, though, you may have to prioritize, based on your budget. But have a definite, clear plan in place to take you through all three stages.

Hope that helps.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 20, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
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