If you had the choice which way would you do it?

@jesssp (2742)
Canada
March 3, 2010 5:03pm CST
Assuming that you could afford either way which would you prefer - buying a house that was already remodeled (although not necessarily to your tastes or specifications) or buying a solid but ugly house and redoing it yourself? I would definitely choose the solid but ugly fixer upper. When we bought our house we knew full well that all the lighting fixtures, the flooring and the bathrooms would have to be replaced. They were old, ugly, grimy and dated. Still functional but not visually appealing in the slightest. And since they were that way and hadn't been replaced in literally decades the price reflected that. I would hate to buy a recently remodeled house and have to pay for all those improvements - especially if I didn't really like them. I know it's nice to be able to just move in and be done, I can definitely understand why some people would prefer to do it that way. But I would sure hate to move into a recently renovated house and still want to customize it my own way, then we would have paid for the remodeling in the price of the house and still have to splash out the cash for new stuff we like. I mean, even if all the lighting was brand new there would still be a good chance it wouldn't be the chandelier or ceiling fan of my dreams. And I would hate to rip up brand new floor just because I didn't like the finish. So for us the answer is definitely the fixer upper. Which would you choose? Which way have you gone in the past, would you do it that way again?
4 people like this
21 responses
@bounce58 (17526)
• Canada
3 Mar 10
If I didn't have a regular M-F job, and I didn't have any kids to watch out for, I would also pick the fixer upper. I am in no way a skilled handyman, but I think I could work myself into any renovations if I had the right tools. And I think renovations is a very interesting hobby. It is even something you could venture a business out of.
1 person likes this
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
Kids are definitely a consideration, that's one of the reasons I want all our big renos done in the next few years. That way all the big, messy stuff is done by the time we start thinking about little ones.
• United States
3 Mar 10
I would choose the already done house--but I would not settle for one that was not something I liked lol. I could handle unappealing paint colors, that is an easy fix--but I would want a pretty much move in ready house. I just don't have the patience and desire to have to do a lot of work on a house.
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
I could settle if I liked everything too, but the chances of me liking all the big stuff would be slim to none, lol.
@kitty42 (3912)
• United States
3 Mar 10
Hello my friend I would have to go with move in ready only because I am impatient, your are so right and I agree with you just does not work for me, I will be so excited I need to get things done fast just to see the outcome, sure I may regret it after the fact but patience is not my strongest suit in some cases unfortunately I have to learn the hard way, Thanks my friend.
1 person likes this
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
If I were to buy a house I would want to go for the fixer upper. I just love stuff like that. Then that way it is to my preference and by doing it myself, it would be a great sense of accomplishment. Although, in the past it can be a scary task tearing apart pieces of an older house. You never know what you may find. The estimated cost can rise significantly. I would want the house checked out thoroughly before making a commitment but even then, no one really knows until you are in the thick of it. I think as I get older, I would maybe like to take more time to shop around and consider buying a house that was already to move in but it would have to be something I really liked so to live with, without renovations.
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
We had a pretty thorough home inspection done when we bought our place and it showed that all the important stuff was sound. We've found a few things so far that were a little bit scary (shoddy electrical etc) but for the most part I think we're pretty well prepared for what we have to do. I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to settle. I want things the way I want them. I would much rather pay a lower price for a fixer upper and put my choice of flooring, cabinets, counter tops etc in it than pay the inflated price for a already renovated home. I'm picky, but I'm also cheap :)
1 person likes this
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
5 Mar 10
You make a very good point and I can see your reasoning. I think that there are many others with the same idea, or rather preference. Most older building do have electrical that may be somewhat sketchy. A very important issue to have resolved as soon as possible too. we had our house rewired but luckily we have an electrician in the family so there was no bill. I am unsure of what those sort of costs would be. Lol, I am kind of picky also. If something is off, or bothers me in any way, I will want to make a change for sure. Not that you want to but another bonus of buying a fixer upper is that once you have it renovated, you can sell it for a higher price.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
5 Mar 10
We bought our house two years ago and it was the later that you mentioned. We have a nice, solid house that needed and still does need a lot of improvements. The reason that we made this choice is that there were some things about the house that we fell in love with (the fireplace in the living room to be exact). However, the bathroom could have easily been condemned. Since we've had the house we've torn out the bathroom and replaced it with a modern bathroom, we've done new windows throughout the house and added a new heating and airconditioning system. We still want to tear out the kitchen and rebuild that with new appliances and counters and we want to put new flooring throughout the main floor (with the exception of the two rooms that we carpeted). Additionally we would like to put vinyl siding on the house.
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
8 Mar 10
We weren't even looking to buy a house when we happened across this one. We also fell in love with the 'bones'. We loved the style, the fact that it had a detached double garage for my husband's toys and an attached single garage for my small vehicle. We also loved the huge fenced yard. In the end we couldn't pass up the relatively low price for such a well appointed property. Everything we have to do is cosmetic so as long as we don't get in too big a hurry we'll be able to update it gradually for fairly little.
4 Mar 10
When we first got married my husband and I bought a fixer-upper. It took us about 10 years to get all the things that were wrong with it when we bought it fixed up, during which time, other things happened that needed fixing! The problem was that my husband had just started his own business so was working really long hours, and I was working full-time too. In the end we did what we could and hired someone else to do the rest. We made quite a good profit when we sold our "fixed up" house so it was worth it in that respect. However, for our next house we decided one in really good condition. It just needed a bit of "cosmetic surgery" which we could easily manage.
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
LOL @ 'cosmetic surgery'! That's what we're dealing with right now, it mostly just needs a good face life in and out.
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
4 Mar 10
I'd buy the house that we can move in and be done. 1. Because after paying for a house we'd have no money left for renovations, and 2. Because renovations are difficult with little kids under your feet. You and hubby can certainly find ways to avoid using your kitchen for awhile so you can install flooring or cabinets or paint it or whatever... but with kids around that's impossible! Plus renovations aren't exactly safe for little kids, they don't need to smell paint fumes, or step on a rusty nail or be exposed to tools someone forgot to pick up. Just dangerous!
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
You're 100% right, I know we wouldn't have gotten into this situation if we didn't have the money and had kids. I can't even imagine drywalling or something like that with little ones afoot.
@dragon54u (31617)
• United States
4 Mar 10
I bought an old house that need a few cosmetic fixes. Not many, though. I already replaced the old tub that was beginning to have mold around it and put in a new shower. I miss my tub!! I put vinyl siding on the outside that included some insulation. I would love to change out the overhead light fixtures, they are UGLY!! It's an old house but the fixtures are octagonal glass shaped with four ugly little 25W bulbs in them. I hate seeing bare bulbs and the lighting is so dim. I want to replace them with old fashioned, brightly lit fixtures or just install ceiling fans and use alternate lighting. I also would like to do other things but I'm sure I can never afford them. The house is sound, comfortable and sturdy so it doesn't need anything, it's just things I want!
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
Lighting is one of those great instant updates that can be done without spending a ton of money. We replaced all the lighting in the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway for less than $250. That included a really nice, contemporary ceiling fan for the living room and great functional, modern looking track lighting in the kitchen. Even the install is relatively painless so it's definitely something to consider, and it would be great to get rid of those awful octagonal things!
@kiel_d_01 (136)
• Philippines
4 Mar 10
i would choose the ugly but fix it yourself house... some or most of the remodeled houses give extra charges for the remodeling itself rather than if you but the ugly one and fix it you can meet your preferred output of the house and also have some savings form it ehehe.... i've always wanted to make a house of my own.. if that happens, it's gonna be a unique one -^^-
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
That's very true. We found when looking at houses that a lot of the ones that were recently remodeled were a lot more money - more than the houses were worth. Chances are if someone renovates and then immediately puts the house on the market the updates were done just to maximize their profit. And quite often the work is done on the cheap.
@Naisan (215)
• Philippines
14 Jun 10
honestly, im the kind of person who'd buy houses and remodel them--and sell them hehe--got this hobby of investing in old houses and putting every wonderful detail that comes to my mind--and then i sell it.
@hagirl (1296)
• United States
6 Mar 10
My sister just bought a house ..... It has minor work.... Doors to rooms and maybe closets replaced,,,, we just painted yesterday.... just real minor work needs to be done.... In that case I would love to buy a fixer upper.... painting, replacing doors (inside house), maybe even carpet replace.... but when you get into the big stuff like new plumbing, furnace, water heater etc.... I would not be interested..... As far as the outside if it needed to be painted that would still be cool with me..
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
4 Mar 10
We have a fixer upper and when the economy was great,that was grand. But now, it's not. We put in a septic tank (old farm house didn't have one), a well (hand dug one dried up during the three year drought), new roofs (more than one and it was before the price of metal went up, thank goodness!), new furnace, new bathroom (the old one was a gloried outhouse, so we had to make a new one by tearing out a bedroom in the inside middle of the house so everything wouldn't freeze)and now I'm stuck, we just barely have enough $ to pay for bills. We need a new kitchen, badly and the bedrooms have wall paper pealing all over the place. But I don't know when or if we'll have money to do anything except pay bills.
• India
4 Mar 10
ya m agree wid u..........me too buy the solid fixed uppper but decorate it acc ot our choice bcz if get full furnished house there will be sm thing tht u dont like ...........so it will be better to buy solid fixed uppper ht frunish it according to ur will.............
4 Mar 10
I guess I would rather pick the ugly fixer upper. It would be a joy to completely renovate such a place, turn it from an ugly duckling into a handsome and stylish home.
@cutepenguin (6457)
• Canada
4 Mar 10
I haven't bought a house yet, but I know that my husband and I are not very "handy" people - remodeling would be a lot of work and money. It would depend on how much of a fixer upper the house was.
@ronaldinu (12445)
• Malta
4 Mar 10
I have lived in two houses so far. The first one was a small two bedroom maisonette. It was 30 years old and I had to do all the tiles and the electrical and plumbing system again. I had also to plaster and paint the house. Anyway I managed to make the house according to our taste. When we bought our second house we bought a terraced house in shell form. Therefore we could finish it according to our tastes without the need to pay extra money for improvements.
@towongfoo27 (2989)
• United States
4 Mar 10
I would choose to buy a house that was already remodeled, like the Hgtv Dream Home giveaway. In my dreams, right? The reason I would choose to buy a house that was already remodeled is everything inside the house, like the wood and bathroom fixtures would be newer. It would also cost less, and I could redecorate it to suit my tastes, just not to the extent that buying a solid but ugly house would I suppose. I have never been the fixer-upper type, but I will repaint the walls, and hire someone to remodel a home to my desires and likes. I also believe I could still personalize the house, without ripping out the floors and fixtures, but I just believe in doing it with furnishings of my own.
@wishuluck (233)
• Lithuania
4 Mar 10
I would also choose the second option. I'm working with the real estate at the moment, and sometimes I don't get it why people want to buy a house for higher price that is already remodeled when they are still going to change everything and do it their own way. Maybe it's lack of imagination..sometimes it's really difficult to see what you can do with the house when it looks really bad, but it only needs some of your time to think about it :)
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
4 Mar 10
Given the situation, I wouldn't mind something that's a bit grimy looking but sturdy and working well too. I would prefer it that way... to just move in and be done. That's easier than having to reformat and rebuild everything..
@Hatley (164654)
• Garden Grove, California
3 Mar 10
hi jessp oh yes would I had the money to buy a fixerupper I would sure do it, it would be fun to do it over and make it liveable but it would have to have money to do this, and that I sure do not have. I can sure 'dream of how I would like to make it over. My son and I could have a ball redoing an old victorian house. what a lovely dream,