If you buy an old house with the intention of fixing it up to either sell it at a big profit or to return it to its glory for your own use, it is a project worth counting the costs before you make that kind of plunge. We all have heard of people who “flip houses” for a living and make a lot of money at that task. So if that is your ambition, be aware that those people who are very good at taking old houses and fixing them up to sell for big profits either learned the craft from experts or they lost their shirts a few times before they figured out what they were doing. The main advantage you have by buying a house directly from the seller on No Agent is the discounted price due to the fact that you are not having to pay estate agents commission. Although the seller pays the commission to the estate agent during a normal (not for sale by owner) property transaction, you as the buyer are essentially paying that additional amount of money.
The key to buying an old house that you will do well with a renovation is developing the skill of evaluating the extent of repairs and renovating the house will require. It is one thing to come in to a rundown house that just needs a good paint job, new doors and fresh counter tops to be good as new. But if you buy a very old structure, there may be hidden damage and problems with that house that are not on the surface. You could unearth a host of problems like cracks in the foundation, dry rot in the walls or other foundation problems that would cost you more to fix than you can ever recoup in profit even if you sold the house for full market value if it was new.
The ability to pick the right houses to improve and flip is the heart of what separates a successful real estate speculator from one who consistently gets in over his head. The other core skill you should have is a basic ability to do much of the work yourself. If you consistency use high priced union contractors to tear down and replace walls, to do the wring and the plumbing, to lay the cement for a new driveway or to build a brick wall to reinforce the basement, your costs for each home renovating project are going to skyrocket.
Most people who are in the business of buying homes to fix up and sell get into it because they love to work on old houses. More than that, they are good at working on old houses. So if you have to invest two months in totally gutting and rebuilding an old house to turn it into a mansion for big profit, you should at least have the skills to do the majority of that work yourself and you should enjoy it.
Finally, you must have both the budget and the temperament to take your time and invest weeks or months into any given home renovating project. Old houses don’t become new houses over night. If you are going to do the work yourself, you might go a month with no income.
So to be successful at refurbishing houses for resale, a strong budget to carry you until the next sale is a must. More than that, you should be able to envision that beautiful finished house and stay with the project until you can sell that house that you have improved so much, it is almost unrecognizable. When you can do that, you will get a real sense of fulfillment from turning old houses into palaces. And the profits will be generous as well.