An online survey of 1,001 Canadians who have purchased a home within the past two years, or intend to buy a home in the next two years, shows that gender plays a role in the selection of new homes vs. 'fixer-uppers'.
More men than women surveyed in the 2011 TD Canada Trust Home Buyers Report preferred fixer-uppers because they are more affordable (14 percent vs. 8 percent) and allow for renovations to suit individual tastes (37 percent vs. 29 percent).
There is a certain romance in popular culture around the ‘do-it-yourself’ renovation, spawned by ads showing smiling, stress-free couples nonchalantly flirting over bowls of cereal in their Euro kitchens or effortlessly applying the latest paint colours to quaint summer cottages; but many who have lived through a major do-it-yourself project will warn that costs can quickly spiral - especially if you're not as 'handy' as you might think.
Ninety-seven percent of all survey participants indicated that cost was the most important consideration in the home buying process. While the price of a fixer-upper may be lower up front, renovations can quickly eat up savings on monthly mortgage payments if you underestimate the price of materials and labour, or have to repair ‘do-it-yourself’ mishaps.
According to a recent report by the Canadian Environmental Law Association, renovations on old homes might even pose risks to your family’s health.
When it comes to selecting a fixer-upper, your best asset is someone with experience in home renovations. Be sure that you understand potential hidden costs before you jump on that attractively-priced gem in the rough.