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Mortgage Matters: Sweat Equity Vs. Peace of Mind

Young couple with house keys in front of Sold sign
Young couple with house keys in front of Sold sign

Are you in the market for a fixer-upper or would you prefer a home that’s move-in ready? Both have their pros and cons to think about before you make a decision.

Fixer-Upper

Pros: These homes are much cheaper than a new home, allowing you to purchase a larger home or more land for less money. Fixer-uppers can be a great investment, especially if they’re in a desirable area where home prices are rising. A home that requires major remodels also give you the opportunity to customize your house to your preferences. An older home can also come with a more established neighborhood and mature trees.

Cons: First, let’s talk about the obvious one: cost. Major repairs and remodels are expensive. If you are handy and have helpful friends and family, you may be able to lower these costs by going the “DIY” route. If you have to hire professionals, the bill is going to add up quickly. Plus, some projects are a little too dangerous or a little too difficult to do without professional help (i.e. electrical work, plumbing, or roofing).

Peace of Mind

Pros: Many newly constructed homes come with a home warranty that covers repairs for a certain length of time (sometimes longer than you plan to stay in the home). When you move into a new home, the paint colors, appliances, and design are likely modern and neutral, some even come with customized options.  An added bonus is that new homes are more energy efficient, which can cut down on utility bills.

Cons: A newer home will likely be much more expensive, meaning your monthly payment will be higher and/or it will take you longer to pay it off. This will also mean less money each month to add those “personal touches” and make the house your own.  If you’re building in a housing development, you may also be restricted to only a few home styles, and be required to pay dues to a homeowners’ association.

Make sure you also take into account what’s important to you. Ask yourself: Do you like the charm of an older home? Do you want a more sustainable and energy efficient newer home? Do you have the cash to cover your initial mortgage expenses and upgrades? Can you afford the space you need in a new construction?

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