When it comes to house hunting, you don’t always need to look for a finished product. But you do need to look for potential. We’ve assembled four tips to help you find and make the best investment for your home remodel in Atlanta, GA.
Looking for Location
There’s nothing wrong with purchasing an outmoded home in an up-and-coming neighborhood with plans to remodel it. In fact, these investments often pay the highest dividends. You should, however, thoroughly vet your neighborhood before buying so that you know your investment is sound.
Before you buy, observe and look up statistics on your location. Are sales rates rising? Are houses on the market for increasingly shorter time periods? Are young families moving in? Are houses selling for more than their owners originally paid? Is there a small or nonexistent percentage of home listings that expire without selling? If you answer yes to the questions above, you’re likely making a sound investment.
Ensuring Sound Structure
Now that you know what to look for in the overall neighborhood, let’s discuss what to look for in individual houses. When touring a home with an eye toward renovation, it’s important to not get hung up on outmoded superficials you can easily alter, but it’s equally important to not be naively enthusiastic before ensuring a sound structure.
Be sure to check for a solid foundation by examining exterior finishes for cracks and floors for sagging. Check also for water damage, mold, and asbestos. Look inside kitchen and bathroom cabinets as well as basements to visually check for potential plumbing problems or exposed electrical issues.
Next, ask the seller/realtor about when shingles, windows, appliances, HVAC systems, etc. were last updated. Buying an older home inevitably entails surprises, some of which, like gorgeous wood floors covered by carpet, can be gold mines. But you’ll want to ask as much as possible about the history of the house to minimize unpleasant surprises.
Planning Your Rough Draft Renovation and Checking City Codes
Before you buy, mentally walk through the changes you’d like to make. Will you want to add an outside deck? Do you plan to build a ground-floor or second-story addition to make the home’s square footage workable for your family? Make a mental checklist and do some research on your city’s codes and zoning laws to ensure they’re realistic.
Consulting Your Contractor
If you’ve vetted the neighborhood and house as thoroughly as possible and are ready to sign the dotted line, it’s time to bring your contractor in for one final approval for your home remodel in Atlanta.
Your contractor can tell you whether the changes you want to make are structurally realistic. For instance, if you plan to tear down walls to introduce an open floor plan, you’ll want to ask your contractor whether your plans architecturally work with the home’s load-bearing walls. Check all structural and design changes with your contractor before proceeding.
The last thing you’ll need to think about is how to finance your construction project. Last week, we discussed the various loans available for financing renovation projects on a home you already own. If you’re looking for a home loan that’s bundled with a renovation loan, consider an FHA 203(k) mortgage or a standard 203(k) loan.