Working With Fixer-Uppers

Working With Fixer-Uppers by Domenick TonacchioWorking in Brooklyn, I’ve often run into buildings that have solid bones, and/or are located in neighborhoods with a lot of potential, but the building itself is in a sorry state at best.  These “fixer uppers” are often great investments, and I’ve done some great work with them, but at the same time there are plenty of things you need to know before diving into that line of work.  Here are some tips, taken from a blog post that I read on the Zillow blog.  It isn’t necessarily focused on what I do, but a lot of its tips are relevant regardless:

Check zoning: Municipalities all have their own zoning districts, so you need to know what’s permitted where.  To research the zoning requirements for an area, visit the municipality’s website or arrange to meet with a staff member that can guide you through your questions.  

Bring in an inspector: Once you’ve made a verbal agreement to buy a house, hiring a home inspector is going to be the way to go.  They’ll look for structural issues and advise you on what might need to be replaced.  Look for an inspector who won’t be too biased and is working directly for you first and foremost.  Inspectors know to ask about things that buyers and even investors might not know about, which saves a lot of trouble in the future.  

Hire an architect and/or contractor: Architects can offer their take on what you can do from a design perspective, and can also point out the home’s load-bearing walls, which will determine whether or not they can be moved around.  When you end up hiring a contractor, make sure it’s a good one that you can trust, so search for references.  

Research tax incentives: Depending on where you live, you could be eligible for a tax credit for improving your property’s value.  A lot of big cities offer them, so check to see what’s available in your area.

Check zoning: Municipalities all have their own zoning districts, so you need to know what’s permitted where.  To research the zoning requirements for an area, visit the municipality’s website or arrange to meet with a staff member that can guide you through your questions.  

 

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