News & Media

Is A Fixer-Upper Really a Good Deal?

The downside to a fixer-upper: Most buyers end up spending more money than estimated. The upside: Few fixer-upper owners have regrets about the final result.

NEW YORK – The lower price of a fixer-upper and added resale value after remodeling appeals to some homebuyers. For example, the average price of a fixer-upper home on the TV show “Fixer Upper,” based in Waco, Texas, is $178,449 – the average resale value is $297,488.

However, a new study from the remodeling site Porch.com, based on a survey of more than 1,000 homeowners, found that the majority of fixer-upper buyers who thought they could save money ended up spending about the same or more than they would have for a move-in ready home.

On average, survey respondents paid slightly over $250,000 for move-in ready homes and slightly under $200,000 for a fixer-upper. After renovations, fixer-upper homeowners ultimately spent nearly $247,000 – for those who managed to stay within budget. For those who went over budget – which about 44% did – they spent over $25,000 more than move-in ready buyers for a total of $275,741, according to the study.

Still, fixer-upper home buyers have no regrets: 86% who spent what they thought they would on renovations would buy the same house again. On the other hand, 60% of those who went over budget would still buy the same house too. But regretful fixer-upper homeowners say they would spend more time on inspections and get better cost estimates for the repairs.

From paint colors to style, fixer-upper homeowners also have more leeway in design, and possibly end up with something closer to their dream home.

Staying within budget seems to be the biggest challenge, though: 44% of respondents said they went over budget on their fixer-upper. The most common projects that made them go over budget were a new HVAC, plumbing, basement, bathroom, new appliances, a new roof or kitchen.

Source: “Turnkey Homes vs. Fixer-Uppers,” Porch.com (August 2019)

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