Is A Fixer Upper The Perfect Path to Purchase For Bay Area Buyers?​

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HGTV recently released its “10 Best Cities to Purchase a Fixer Upper” list and one Suburban Jungle area made the cut: San Francisco.

As any Bay Area buyer knows, Bay Area real estate is among the most expensive in the country. With a median purchase price already cracking $1.1 million, many buyers are looking for a deal. And that’s when a fixer upper can look VERY appealing.

So first the perks. According to HGTV buyers will save about 9.5% buying a fixer upper than buying a house that’s ready to go. While that still makes the Bay Area real estate market a costly proposition, saving a few thousand—or, even, a few hundredthousand—dollars may help some buyers get a leg up. What’s more, this cost savings can make some of the very costly neighborhoods a bit easier to swing. So if your family’s got their heart set on a particular community or, even, street, don’t dismiss the lower-cost house that needs a little TLC.

The downside? The actual renovation on a fixer upper. A lot of money, cost, time, permitting, inspections and unexpected bumps come with a fixer upper. We aren’t saying don’t opt for the house that needs work. But we aresaying be aware of what you’re reallysaving going in. There’s nothing worse than celebrating a great deal only to spend more on rehab work than you would have going move-in ready.

First things first: in our experience, where a house is located is #1. If the work isn’t too crazy and your budget and timeline can accommodate, finding that diamond in the rough in the right ‘burb and right neighborhood could be the best situation all around.

All of this said, it’s important to.understand moving urban to suburban is a huge undertaking, especially with young children in tow. You’re going to want to spend time making friends, integrating into your community and tackling the ups and downs that come with a big move. You may NOT want to spend every weekend picking out door handles or window fixtures for your fixer upper. Renovating a home definitely eats into your budget, both financially-speaking and time-wise—and can be a huge stressor in the beginning.

Our recommendation? Typically we advise families not to dive head-on into a big renovation for this house. The second house? Maybe that’s the one you roll up your sleeves and dig into. Moving can, really, be a full-time job. Layering in a massive project on a fixer upper could leave you spending more time at The Home Depot than with the neighbors, in the parks or on the ball fields. And remember, it’s the neighborhood makes the house—not the other way around.

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