The complete guide to buying a fixer-upper in New York City

a couple after buying a fixer-upper in New York City

You’ve decided to buy a place in NYC – congrats! It’s a challenging yet exciting commitment to the Big Apple. However, the whole process of picking the right home, the most convenient location, etc., makes New Yorkers confused and overwhelmed. One of the most popular options when it comes to settling down in NYC is finding a place that needs a bit of touch-up. You invest time and money in creating a perfect home for your family, which will make it more valuable than one might think. Read everything you need to know about buying a fixer-upper in New York City to make this adventure as smooth as possible.

Reasons to go for a fixer-upper apartment in NYC

Dedicating your time and money to making a place look good is not easy to do. That’s why we want to point out why you should go for it and get yourself the best home ever:

  • it’s inexpensive – compared to other places in NYC, buying a fixer-upper can be a real bargain.
  • you can flip the place and make money – a newly renovated home is very popular among buyers, which is an excellent opportunity to make some money;
  • you’re a DIY soul – if you’re into DIY, this project can be a lot of fun. And if you know how to do particular renovation work by yourself – this project can be very cost-efficient;

the feeling of building your home – you might not be able to build a house from scratch, but fixing an apartment can give you a similar sense of satisfaction to building something by yourself. The place will become more valuable to you and give you more pleasure once you start living there.

Have a vision about buying a fixer-upper in New York City

Before you start looking at places, make sure you have an idea of what this project should look like. It is crucial to make certain decisions even before you begin browsing for apartments. These include several steps.

The amount of effort and time you’re willing to spend

Be sure to decide to what extent you’re ready to fix a place. Specific apartments require minor renovations. However, renovating other places may feel like building a brand new home. Think about how much time and energy you have to spend on this project. This way, you can narrow the list of potential apartments to see.

renovating an apartment after buying a fixer-upper in New York City

Budget is the critical factor

Even though you might fall in love with a place, it might be a bit too expensive to remodel. That’s why you should sort out your budget first and see how much you can afford. You might need to go for All-In-One Construction Loan to finance both the sale price and renovation costs. Either way, be sure to do thorough research on basic renovation costs. It will help you see where you can save and the tasks you can do on your own. Finally, remember that each apartment/house is an individual case, and renovation costs can vary greatly.

Plan other tasks as well

Along with the renovation process, make sure you plan other tasks. Organizing things such as moving, and taking care of your old place are some of the things on your list. Something you mustn’t forget is renting a storage unit for your items until the new place is ready. So, figuring out a way to handle your possessions during this project is one of the steps you should do on time to make the whole process a lot easier. If you take care of your items and find a reliable moving team, you will be able to relax and have a smooth renovation and moving process.

Choose a great neighborhood

There are many great places to live in NYC. However, if you’re looking to buy a fixer-upper here, you’re going to have more luck in the outer parts of the city. Neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Flushing, West Harlem, Jackson Heights, East New York, etc., have many apartments for sale that could use a makeover. But, it would be best if you went for a location that suits your lifestyle. Also, consider the position of your office, kids’ school, etc. On the other hand, if you plan to rent the place out, be sure to get a location popular among potential tenants. Usually, these are close to schools, a big company, main streets, etc.

New York city buildings

What kind of apartment should you look for?

The central dilemma for NYC buyers is whether they should go for a co-op or condo. When it comes to buying a fixer-upper in New York City, you have better chances with co-ops. These are usually older buildings, and there are much more of them on the NYC market.

Make sure you do it right

When approaching such a massive project like this, it is necessary to be realistic about it. Even though you might be a DIY lover, it’s better to leave specific tasks to professionals. There are skilled and experienced teams that can help you with the renovation and make the process a lot faster and easier for you. Hiring a professional architect, contractor and realtor can help your budget, as it prevents wasting money on unsuccessful attempts. Furthermore, this gives much safer results – you can be sure the job is done right, and you get minimum risks of getting hurt as well.

Remember: it’s much easier to renovate and move if your items are temporarily removed from the apartment and placed in short-term storage. Luckily, it’s easy to find an ideal place for your belongings in the city and ensure they are safe until all the work is over. You can do a detailed cleaning session and then pick up your items from storage to make the new place your home.

two men building

Insist on clear offers

When it comes to safety, you should protect yourself until the end of this process. Buying a fixer-upper in New York City can be tricky, as you need to make sure the place you find doesn’t have any serious structural damage, goes along the code of the Department of Buildings, etc. Always make sure the offer you get from your agent and your contractor is clear and final, so it doesn’t end with an unpleasant surprise. Even though you should be flexible, don’t give up on your main idea and always insist on safety and professionalism. This way, you can enjoy the process of adapting the place to your needs and wishes and be in love with the final results.

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