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The Homebuyer’s Dilemma: To fixer up, or to not fixer up?

Like many Canadians, I once dreamt of owning my own home. Eventually I was able to buy a condo in an okay building, and I’m still sitting on it with fingers crossed that the value will go up, but my hopes of own a freestanding structure get a little less as years go by.

That’s why I was interested in this article in the National Post the other day that talked about fixer uppers. I figure that if I ever do get to buy a home, it’s going to be one that needs a little work. I’m cool with that, because I have some handy man skills, and I have buddies that could help me out if need be. But the article spooked me a little, I admit. You do hear horror stories about the perfect fixer upper turning out to be not-so-awesome, with serious foundation or electrical problems that mean the costs rise exponentially.

For example: I know a friend who was excited to buy a home in an up-and-coming neighbourhood, but when he looked into the home’s history and got it inspected, he found out there’d been a fire that had damaged some of the internal structure of the house. And worse, the owners had not fixed it but just patched it and painted over the burned areas so it was dangerous to boot. He was lucky he did his homework, and it’s definitely a cautionary tale.

I think it’s okay for me to keep my plans for eventually home ownership on the back burner for now. Maybe some day I’ll just find the right place and fall in love with it, but for me right now the Cons definitely outweigh the Pros.

What do you think? Do you own a fixer upper?

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