When it comes to buying real estate, you want to make sure the property you purchase is the right fit for your needs. For some buyers, purchasing a home that needs some work is the ideal situation. For others, getting a turnkey home that’s move-in ready is the only option they’ll consider. And for still others, both seem like reasonable options.
The question is: which is for you? There are pros and cons to both fixer uppers and move-in ready homes. The important thing is to recognize which is the best fit for you, your budget, and what you want out of a home.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of fixer uppers and move-in ready homes to help you determine which is the better fit for you:
Fixer uppers are, as the name implies, homes that need a bit of TLC – or fixing up – upon move in.
The major draw of fixer uppers is the price. Since they need work, you can typically get a fixer upper at a fraction of the cost of a move-in ready home of a similar size or in a similar location. So if you’re on the hunt for a bargain or you have a tight budget, a fixer upper is definitely going to be the least expensive home-buying option.
You can make the house your own
Since a fixer upper will need work and renovations, it does offer the opportunity to put your own stamp on the design and layout and really make the house your own. With a move-in ready home, the work has already been done and the home already designed. With a fixer upper, you get the opportunity to build your home from the ground up with everything from flooring and cabinetry to landscaping and windows.
It’s a project
For people who are interested in home renovation, there’s nothing better than a fixer upper. Taking on the challenge of completely transforming a home is a really exciting prospect for a lot of people, and if you’re in that camp, a fixer upper is a great opportunity to take on a worthwhile project.
It can get expensive
Even though the purchase price of a fixer upper is typically low, if there is a significant amount of problems with the property or changes that need to be made, it can definitely get expensive. Things like repairing electric, adding a new roof, tearing up and installing new flooring, and redoing a kitchen can get pricey, and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself way over budget, swimming in contractor bills with no end to your renovations in sight.
It takes time
Even if you’re a person who loves renovating homes, there’s no escaping the fact that it takes time. If you need to move into your home quickly, a fixer upper isn’t going to be the right fit.
Move-in ready homes are recently built, updated, or remodeled homes that need next to nothing in terms of renovations or improvements. You can comfortably move in without making a single change.
In terms of convenience, you can’t beat a move-in ready home. Moving can be a stressful process, and for many new homeowners, the last thing they want to do upon moving into their new home is start managing a bunch of renovations. With a move-in ready home, once you move in, you’re done. While you may want to make some cosmetic changes down the road (like painting the walls or changing the flooring), there’s nothing that needs to get done after you move.
Better energy efficiency
Newer, move-in ready homes tend to be more energy efficient, which is not only better for the environment, but also better for your utility costs. Energy efficient homes require less energy to heat the home during the winter and cool the home during the summer, which can end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run.
Home prices are higher
When you buy a move-in ready home, you’re paying for the convenience. Move-in ready homes will always be significantly more expensive than fixer uppers in the same neighborhood and of the same size. If you have a tight budget, you might have to make some sacrifices to purchases a move-in ready home, like buying a smaller house or buying in a less popular neighborhood.
The “cookie cutter” effect
When you buy a move-in ready home, everything has already been done for you. Which is certainly convenient, but it can lack originality, charm, and the architectural and decor details you might want in a home. Newer homes sometimes feel more generic and “cookie cutter” than their older counterparts, so if charm and individuality are important for you, a move-in ready home might not feel like the best fit.
Fixer uppers and move-in ready homes both have unique benefits and challenges. Ultimately, you have to go with the choice that best aligns with your budget, your needs, and your long-term goals for your home.
What are the right questions for a buyer to ask when considering purchasing a piece of rural land for sale? It all depends on the objectives the buyer has in mind when making their purchase.
A recent article on LANDTHINK entitled, “Top 20 Questions for Land Buyers” garnered a lot of attention and created quite a bit of controversy among LANDTHINK readers. I read many of the comments, and started thinking about what my list of questions would look like as I perform due diligence for myself or my clients when considering a property. That list would need to be tweaked a little depending on the objective for the purchase. For example, a person considering developing a tract into a subdivision on a river would have some significantly different questions to answer than a person merely buying a rural retreat for their family. So the following list would be my jumping off point for most buyers of rural tracts:
- How is the property accessed? (Road frontage, deeded easement, etc..)
- Are there any water features on the property? (rivers, creek, lake, springs)
- Are utilities available to the property?
- What is the timber like? (stand types, age, planted or natural)
- Has the property been surveyed? (Are boundaries marked?)
- Who are the neighbors surrounding the tract?
- Can I get a clear title to the property with title insurance?
- Do the timber, mineral and water rights convey with the sale?
- Are there any easements on the property? (adjoining owners, conservation, utility)
- Are there any known environmental concerns or latent defects with the property?
- How is this property zoned? (agricultural, residential, commercial?)
- What are the annual property taxes?
- Have the owners received notice from any governmental agency about possible assessments or actions in the near future that would affect this property?
- Will the property be conveyed subject to covenant and restrictions? (If so, what are they?)
- How does the land lay? (slopes, bottomland, elevation change, etc…)
- Are there internal roads and trails?
- Do all of the improvements to the property convey with the sale? (gates and fences, shooting houses, out buildings, etc…)
- Does the land drain well or does it stay wet for much of the year?
- If I had to sell this property again in a year, is it desirable to other potential buyers?
- Can I pee off my porch in privacy?
Buyers that are considering purchasing land for growing crops would also be concerned about things such as:
- What is the corn grain yield per acre?
- Is it possible to irrigate with a center pivot?
- Is an irrigation permit available from the Army Corps of Engineers?
- What is the soil profile of the property?
- Where are the nearest grain processors?
An investor purchasing timberland for their portfolio would ask questions like:
- What is the site index of the land?
- Is any of the timber merchantable now?
- Is more than 70% of the property sloped suitably for growing and harvesting timber?
- Where are the nearest wood outlets and mills?
The list could go on indefinitely for developers, hunters, farmers, investors, and survivalists. The point I am trying to make is that you need to know what your objectives for owning a rural property are before you can even know the right set of questions to ask. This is one reason a buyer should engage the help of a competent agent when purchasing a rural property. Having someone working for you that knows the right questions to ask can save you thousands of dollars and make your transaction much safer and pain-free.
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Innovation is all around us. It seems like every day, new products and platforms are being developed to change the way we look at virtually every process of our lives. One area where we are seeing rapid transformation is in real estate. Over the last few years, we have reimagined how we find properties, obtain financing, get to the closing table and even move into our new property. When it comes to title insurance, all these new innovative factors will affect how a property is insured in 2020 and beyond.
What exactly is title insurance? As a lifelong title insurance professional, I have heard this question more than any other in my life. Being the third generation of my family in the title insurance business, I was born into a world of deeds, mortgages, title commitments, liens and closings. When I say I have heard this question my whole life, I truly mean my whole life.
Title insurance is a unique form of insurance that protects what in most cases is the largest monetary investment you will ever make in your lifetime: your real estate. Whether you are a homeowner, a small investor or a large commercial landlord, obtaining a title insurance policy when you purchase your property can give you peace of mind that your investment is safe and that if there is a problem, you will not be on your own to fight it.
On average across the nation, title insurance costs roughly 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price when you get a policy protecting you as well as your lender (which is customarily required by the bank). On a $300,000 purchase, that only equates to $3,000 for a policy that will protect you as long as you own the property and your lender as long as they hold the mortgage.
Title insurance is unlike other insurance products such as homeowners, medical or auto insurance. It is a one-time payment as opposed to monthly or annually. It does not protect you from future incidents, but rather from what has already happened in the past. By researching the history of the property and the people selling it to you, the title insurance company knows and corrects any issues that could possibly come up in the future based upon these past events.
If the person who sold you their property was not who they said they were, or if there was a lien on the property that was not satisfied, you are protected. If someone knocks on your door one day and says they inherited and have a claim on the property, you are protected. If a bank tries to foreclose a mortgage from before you bought the property, you are protected. When talking about properties worth tens to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, having that insurance for as long as you own the property can give you a level of comfort that is priceless.
There are myriad problems that might arise when purchasing or owning real estate. Even the most seasoned title insurance professional who could have been in the business for 50 years will tell you that new issues always come up that are unprecedented. There are the legacy issues that they have seen time and again, and then there are the “new” problems that typically crop up from new technology and processes being introduced.
Mortgage fraud and cybercrime are the newest threats to the real estate industry. Hackers have determined that real estate and settlement are an easy target and have moved into the space at an alarming rate. In the last year, remote online notarization and e-closings have gained traction across the country and introduced new sets of problems for the industry, such as proof of identity and security. With a move recently toward automation and machine learning, you gain efficiency, but lose the security of human oversight. With e-recording becoming commonplace and the possibility of recording documents on the blockchain, who does the final review of the documents, and how do they get fixed if recorded incorrectly?
With the advent of new technology and an ever-changing landscape of issues that could arise, title insurance is more of a necessity than ever before. The title industry uses its vast resources to pinpoint the issues and find ways to cure them. A title insurance professional spends countless hours staying on top of the trends and current environment of issues. If any issue comes back to haunt you, a national underwriter will have your back. They will defend you in a court of law or make sure you are made whole. No matter how the industry morphs over time, title insurance will make sure you are protected.
That, to me, is worth its weight in gold.
The Realtors at Preferred Properties of Texas in Stephenville in Erath county in the Cross Timbers area of North Central Texas are here to help you buy and sell real estate for over 25 years!