Once you complete that home-buying wish list you may think that there isn’t a home in the world that contains everything you long for. You may be right, but, in cases such as this, you need to think outside the box.
You need to start looking at uglier homes.
Surprised? Homes that need work, or “fixers” as they are called in the real estate industry, are the ideal choice for the picky homebuyer, and here’s why:
- They are less expensive than homes in move-in condition.
- There is typically less competition in the fixer market.
- You can customize the home to fit your home-buying wish list.
- You may be able to buy in a more expensive neighborhood, which will help boost the home’s value when it’s repaired.
- Financing options are quite attractive.
“In some markets, buying a fixer can really be a game changer, bringing the typical single-family home into reach for a median-income household,” says Realtor.com’s Cicely Wedgeworth,
Shopping for a fixer
Shopping for a Billings fixer-upper house for sale may be challenging at first. Remember, these homes are typically not very attractive so you’ll need to learn how to look at them in a different light. Forget trying to picture yourself living in the home now – picture instead what the home will be like when you’ve transformed it.
The most important aspect of fixer-upper shopping is to find a floor plan that most closely fits your needs without having to knock down too many walls. While removing a non-load-bearing wall may cost between $2,000 and $3,000, ripping out a load-bearing wall may cost up to $30,000, according to Houzz.
Two professionals you simply must have on your side when shopping for a fixer include a real estate agent to help you negotiate and a contractor, for obvious reasons.
Financing the fixer-upper
Once you decide on a fixer-upper in Billings, unless you’ll be paying cash for the home and the rehab work, you’ll need to get a loan. Unlike in years past, today there are several attractive options.
Our favorite programs, however, are the FHA 203(k) loan, the Freddie Mac Home Possible® mortgage and Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle® Renovation Mortgage. Although these programs have different qualification guidelines, and down payment requirements may vary, they all basically offer the same thing:
They permit borrowers to wrap the rehab work into the financing for the home. One loan covers both.
This is a significant money and time saver. First, having just one loan means you’ll save on closing costs. With all three programs, the loan amount is typically based on the value of the property when the work is completed. Oh, and with the FHA program you won’t need to start making mortgage payments until you actually move into the home.
The process is complicated, we must warn you, but with the right contractor and real estate agent, buying a fixer-upper property in Billings using one of these programs may just be the best investment you’ve ever made.
By the way, if you already own and occupy a fixer (and have lived there for at least one year), the City of Billings has a program for you. It’s called the Housing Rehabilitation Deferred Loan and it’s for low- and moderate-income Billings residents to perform “eligible” repairs. View the rules for this program online at the City of Billings website.
Contact us for more information on these loan programs or to learn more about the fixer uppers for sale in Billings.