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Getting a “Fixer-Upper” and What you Need to Know

“Most buyers are not experienced enough to know the difference between good or poor construction, says Fiona Dogan, an agent… so it’s best to enlist the aid of a reputable home inspector who is experienced at spotting red flags and problem areas.”

As a generation of thrifty and handy DIYers comes of age, some are looking for a low-cost property that they can slowly renovate into a dream home.

Still, real estate experts recommend that buyers look for a property with “good bones,” meaning that there are no structural problems that might haunt the homeowner later.

A house with “good bones” has crucial elements intact and in good condition, says Amatore Laporta, president of A&A Design Group Ltd., an architectural firm and general contracting company in Chicago.

That includes a solid foundation, sound roof, quality windows and 2-by-6 construction (use of 2-inch by 6-inch studs in the framing of exterior walls).

Today’s buyers who are looking for a “fixer upper” can assess curb appeal and interior finishes on their own, and they might be willing to overlook an outdated kitchen or too-small master bedroom. However, these structural elements can be expensive or impossible to fix, and could make or break a deal.

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