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Considering a Fixer-Upper in Des Moines? Here's What you Need to Know

Sep 6, 2019 | Industry News

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Thinking of buying a fixer-upper in Des Moines? Under the right circumstances, buying a fixer-upper can be a great investment. Whether you’re buying the home to fix it up and resell or are planning to live there, there are some things that you should be aware of to ensure your purchase is a wise one. Here are some things to keep in mind:


The Lay of the Land

It’s a good idea to consult a real estate professional to find out the history of the home and the neighborhood. An agent can provide you with comparable home sales, the sales history of the property you’re considering, as well as the current value of the home. They will also be able to provide you with community news, including property development and environmental projects, that could have positive and negative effects on your potential home’s resale value.


Home Inspection

In order to create a budget, you’ll need to know the costs of the potential repairs. A thorough home inspection will point out the structural, cosmetic, and “invisible” issues any home might have. Invisible issues are those associated with plumbing, electrical and heating – those not apparent to the naked eye. These issues tend to be the most expensive, so being aware of them upfront eliminates the chance of additional costs down the road.


Get Some Bids

Once you know all of the structural, invisible, and cosmetic issues in your fixer-upper, you can hire licensed contractors and request a bid for repairs. Make sure when selecting a contractor that you check references and request a timeline.


Are You Prepared?

Renovating is stressful, both financially and emotionally. Make sure you have the money and the time to invest prior to signing on the dotted line. Create a budget and make sure to have a contingency fund in case any additional costs come up. Be aware that you will need to be hands-on for this project. Hiring a contractor doesn’t ensure that things will be done on time or to your liking, so be prepared to spend time and energy fixing up the property.



It’s important to contact your local municipality office and request information on your city’s building permit laws before undergoing any renovations. You’ll need to be aware of which renovations require permits and set appointments for each permit needed. Keep a record of all documents you obtain, as they may be required if you should sell the home.


Be Realistic

Many people think they can DIY their way through a renovation. Granted, elbow grease and determination can take you far, but you need to be realistic about your capabilities for the larger and more difficult projects. Certain things will require a professional contractor and your budget should reflect that.



If you’re planning to flip your fixer-upper, you may want to choose decorations and trends that will appeal to a larger population. Be aware of what’s popular in home sales market right now, such as granite countertops, neutral paint, and stainless steel appliances. If you’re planning to live in the home, customize it to your taste, but be careful not to blow the budget by making last minute upgrades.



Buying a fixer-upper in Des Moines can definitely be a wise choice. As long as you know what you’re getting into and are prepared for it, it’s quite an accomplishment to take an old house and restore it to its former glory.

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