Buying a Fixer-Upper in New York

Purchasing a property in NY is a monumental decision. This is especially true when deciding between buying a fixer-upper in New York, a move-in ready, or a new construction home. The first option might be the only way to get enough square footage or a house in the desired location. However, there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind. This article will give you pointers on buying and affordably renovating a fixer-upper in NY.

Top concerns to be aware of when buying a fixer-upper

If you are in the market for a fixer-upper, you will need to consider things different from those in the regular market. Even if the description of the place might say “in need of a little TLC,” many things can quickly go wrong in this scenario. A lot of fixer-uppers just don’t have enough potential.

Renovation when buying a fixer-upper
You will encounter unique conditions while buying a fixer-upper in New York.

Therefore, before you take the plunge, research pointers on what to be aware of when buying a fixer-upper. This way, you will get a realistic idea of the process that lies ahead.

Furthermore, by following our advice, you will be one step closer to making this place your forever home, arranging the relocation, and finding ways to keep your possessions safe during the process. Then, the only crucial thing you will have left will be renting plastic bins for your stuff and giving the place your personal touch.

So, without further ado, let’s see what you need to be aware of.

Inform yourself of the building’s requirements for renovations

The first step is to find out whether your vision is feasible. This usually means verifying if your intended renovations are allowed in New York.

Each co-op or condo board has its own rules, terms, and regulations. With this said, you might need to get approval from the board before you start with the work. Unfortunately, they might not allow certain renovations to be done at all. 

On the other hand, if you are buying a house and want to start your interior and exterior renovations soon, you will still need to check which permits are required for the work you are planning. Visit the Department of Buildings Borough Office before beginning anything to learn how the process functions.

Ask what’s permitted and how the process works before sending an offer to the seller.

Know which professionals to include in the process

You will have to assemble a team of qualified professionals to transform your fixer-upper. The main people on your team should be:

  • a real estate agent,
  • a real estate attorney,
  • a general contractor,
  • an architect.

It would be best to get estimates from at least three different contractors. Don’t be shy and ask any questions you might have. By getting enough information, you will ensure you’ve found a home that’s in line with your style, scope, and budget.

Be realistic about the timing

Whether you’re buying a condo or a house that needs a complete makeover, know that everyone’s situation is specific, and timelines are different. 

When making an approximate timeline, you should account for a couple of months needed to close on a home. Also, the preparation for the renovation process is the crucial part, which can take a longer time. 

If you find yourself in a situation where tasks overlap and you can’t do anything, use this time to educate yourself about the costs that await and the materials you will need to choose. It would be good to create a realistic list of your negotiables and non-negotiables, too.

Create a renovation budget when buying a fixer-upper

In addition to the property’s price, you will need to determine how much you want to spend on the renovation. There’s a construction-to-permanent loan that allows you to finance both your mortgage and remodel at once. 

Since you are buying a fixer-upper in New York, keep in mind that the price of a full remodel starts anywhere from $100 to $200 per square foot. However, the factors that will most significantly impact the remodel cost include:

  • moving electrical and plumbing,
  • material selection, and
  • current home’s condition.
A woman creating a renovation budget
Search online for fixer-upper renovation costs, and don’t forget to include the cost of where you’ll be staying during the construction.

Furthermore, don’t forget to include the “hidden costs” of the process. The relocation specialists from advise to include some of the following costs in the budget:

  • Your stay during the renovation
  • Moving services
  • Storage units
  • Living costs for the time being.

Evaluate the home’s condition

Finally, it is easy to get distracted with choosing wall colors and cabinet finishes. However, when buying a fixer-upper, these are the least important things.

The crucial thing to think over is the floor plan and your family’s lifestyle. Examine whether there’ll be enough room for an extra bedroom, if there is an HVAC system, the roof’s condition, etc. By focusing on more costly things, you will ensure this fixer-upper home lasts you for a lifetime. 

Ultimately, arranging a home inspection will give you the most precise idea of the electrical and plumbing systems and structural condition.

Final thoughts on buying a fixer-upper in New York

Before buying a fixer-upper in New York, make sure you do your research and get advice from experts in the field. Most importantly, make sure your finances can support the project you are about to start. Transforming your home isn’t easy, but it is possible with proper organization and the right people on your team.

Author bio: 

Julie Palmer is an all-things-home-related enthusiast. Her hobbies include DIY renovating and home improvement projects. She also enjoys writing and sharing her knowledge and experience with her readers. Above all, she is a stay-at-home mother of three kids.


As 2020 trends are rolled out, from bathtubs, showers, sinks and vanities, we've got it covered. The textures, finishes, patterns, prints,  and styles are...

Eco-friendly Organizing Tips for Your Home

Spring and summer time are the perfect seasons to do a bit of cleaning, refurbishing and organizing at home. Often, with such...

Guide to buying designer furniture

Enhancing the look of your home with a designer piece of furniture is a costly venture, that can be well worth the investment if...

Creating a Safe Living Space for Your Senior Parent

Getting old is an inevitable part of life, but that fact doesn’t make the process any easier. If you have a senior...

How to Remodel a Loft

Underestimating the power and practicality of lofts should be a long-forgotten mistake of real estate. With some interesting design solutions, you can...

What to pay attention to when designing a home for a senior

Designing a home for a senior means keeping in mind their comfort and accessibility to everyday items. In...