Do you have a good imagination? I do. Which comes in handy when shopping for homes in Roseville CA and having specific needs in mind. For example, many years ago in Southern California, we were first-time homebuyers with a big desire to buy and a teeny tiny savings account to use.
We were terrible savers then. We got better but, of course, life can still get in the way, causing savings to ebb and flow. That's especially true for many of us dealing with the Sandwich Generation issues, isn't it?
But, thanks to our good imaginations, we were able to look at an old 1940s fixer upper home and see beyond the ugly, unfinished paint job, the awful carpeting, the terrible looking and rather bedraggled front and back yard and see the good points:
- The lovely neighborhood – experts recommend that you find the worst house in a great neighborhood for a good deal and that was definitely our situation
- Cosmetic fixes only – there was nothing structural wrong with the home and we could easily move in, then make fixes as the years rolled by
- Plenty of room for our baby – and, as it turned out, enough room to add on when said baby multiplied
Because of that, we bought the home for a bit under market value at a time when home prices had doubled and were mostly out of our reach!
I'm not going to tell you we turned it into the most gorgeous place around. That's a gift other bloggers have and we didn't. But we did get the carpeting replaced, added forced air conditioning to replace the swamp coolers that cooled us for a few years, painted periodically, improved the landscaping, and loved our neighbors and neighborhood for over a decade. It was a true blessing.
Years later, in Roseville, California, I wanted a home that offered some needed multigenerational positives and again, I discovered a fixer upper.We negotiated a good deal for seller and buyer, painted and re-carpeted it with colors I liked and again, it was a blessing for us for many years.
Fixer Uppers are not for everyone. If you just want to be able to move in and do nothing, you definitely want to avoid them. And if they have major structural damages or needs, I'd personally leave that to an experienced contractor or “flipper.”
Both of my houses were just cosmetic fixer uppers. They were fine to move in to as is, but definitely needed some paint, lawn work, and, eventually, new carpeting. They had a few tiles chipped here or there that I could easily ignore, etc. There were a couple of messy piles we had to clean up. Those were all things we could fix if and when we had the time or money but could wait if necessary.
I also made sure I got an inspection with the second home. I was too “green” to know about those with the first house and didn't have a REALTOR® watching out for me then. It turned out OK but it could easily have been a disastrous moneypit. I have since learned my lesson and now always get – and always recommend – a good home inspection!
I also learned to get a home warranty (I love Old Republic) which I renew annually – even on my rental. I've always been glad to have them and never regretted them. They aren't perfect but they really help my budget.
Cosmetic fixer uppers can be a great option for first time homebuyers – especially with some financial programs that can help – primarily the FHA 203k. Fixers can be handy for those of us dealing with special circumstances like multigenerational needs where we might need more room but have less cash available. And in that case, many hands can often turn sweat equity into future savings for boomers and seniors. And in both of my fixer upper cases, we got the added pleasure of mature landscaping that, once whipped into better shape, provided years of shade, smiles, and sweet bouquets. A delightful joy all around.
P.S. Are you currently looking to buy your own first home or a fixer upper in Roseville California or anywhere in our greater Sacramento area? Here's a showcase of many in the area. Click on any of these house photos to search more
You can also click here to download my free mobile app that lets you do a MLS search while you drive around, or even better, give me a call at 657-229-KAYE and let us do it for you. We can get inside of our MLS directly to do a very specific keyword search tailored specifically to your real estate needs. A huge help and time-saver for you. 🙂