Buying Fixer Upper Homes in Long Beach - Long Beach Real Estate

BuyingFixer Upper Homes in Long Beach - Long Beach Real Estate

Long Beach Real Estate News

Buying Fixer Upper Homes in Long Beach


Fixer Upper homes in Long BeachMany buyers who are searching for homes in Long Beach express interest in purchasing a "fixer upper".  It is always interesting to hear what their idea of a "fixer upper" is.  There are so many levels of fixer upper it is necessary to clarify what the buyer has in mind.


Quite a few buyers of Long Beach Real Estate think a home that requires paint and carpet is a fixer upper.  These are cosmetic fixers and while they do cost a fair amount of money to update, it is very common to need paint and replace flooring when purchasing Long Beach homes.  This could be called a cosmetic fixer, but then many homes that require extensive work in the kitchen and bath - or even replacement - are often referred to as cosmetic fixers as well.  Costs can start to add up and the buyer isn't going to be thinking "cosmetic fixer" as the price tag begins to reach the stratosphere. 



There are many items your home inspector will look at that can add to this already hefty amount of necessary repairs and/or upgrades.  Electric and plumbing replacements can get pricey if added to the already climbing total of necessary upgrades. Here are a few important items to inquire about:


  • Has the electric been upgraded - at least partially? When?
  • Is the plumbing copper? When was it installed?
  • Are the upgrades nearing the end of their useful life? 
  • Will you need to replace them at some point in the near future?

Home InspectorLets not forget the roof.  There are many types of roofs, made out of many materials, but roofs do have a life expectancy. Find out how long ago the roof was installed and if the homeowner purchased a 30 year roof.  It will give you an idea of when (not if) you will need to upgrade it once again.  Roof replacements come in several forms.


  • Adding an additional layer of shingle. (moderately expensive)
  • Adding an additional layer of shingle and replacing the wood underneath it. (more expensive)
  • Entire roof replacement including roof frame and ridge-board.  (quite pricey)


Most roofs are supposed to be able to handle the weight of about 3 layers of shingle.  3 layers makes for a very heavy roof and can bow the ridge board creating a rather expensive repair.  Check the roof to see how many layers of shingle are currently on it.  1 is best, 2 is OK, 3 means that it will eventually have to be removed to replace it with another layer, adding to the cost of your roof replacement. 


Termites, left to their own devices, can cause tremendous damage over time.  While most Long Beach homes require a moderate amount of termite work done during the escrow process, occasionally a home will have a tremendous amount of damage and the costs can skyrocket.  Termite work is usually the responsibility of the seller contractually.  Sometimes the seller will place a financial cap on how much work they are willing to do, if the buyer accepts this during the negotiation process they will be contractually obligated to complete the work themselves. Smart homeowners have annual contracts with a pest control company to keep the little buggers under control. 


Many bank owned properties are refusing to do termite inspections and work.  It is advisable to have a termite inspection during your contingency period to assure yourself that the home is sound and the work will not have astronomical costs attached to it after purchase. 

Foundation issues are usually deal breakers.  If an entire foundation needs to be replaced the estimated costs are usually so high the seller will refuse and the buyer will decline.   If you discover foundation problems, you absolutely should get 3 estimates for the work.  You may be shocked at how far apart the estimates can be.  Some years ago I saw 3 estimates for the same foundation replacement come in at about $20k, $35k and $52k, it can be confusing and it can make people very angry.   Most buyers are not equipped to handle this level of problem. 


Some cracks in foundations are easily repaired with a liquid epoxy.  The problems are not always major.  Foundation problems can sometimes be detected by a noticeable tilt of the floors. Large cracks can be an indicator of stress to a particular area of the foundation.


Handyman's SpecialA sagging in a particular area of the home could indicate that a post needs to be replaced under the home.  This is not as major of a job as one would think, and is fairly reasonable to correct. 


Heaters must work, most lenders will not fund a loan without an operating heating system. 

I recently showed a very nice home to a buyer client.  The home was in very good condition and showed really well.  The seller happened to be home and was very forthcoming with information about the house.  She has lived in it for 25 years, having purchased it from a very handy gentleman years before.  The prior owner added on a large master bedroom and bath, the work was quality.  It seems that he also delivered the house with a new roof and 15 year old plumbing.  The electric had not been a problem, so it had not been upgraded.  The kitchen, while nice, was in need of a remodel.


Having informed us that she had lived in the home for 25 years repair free, we now knew that just about everything in the home was nearing the end of its useful life and would need to be replaced over the next few years.  As nice as the home was, the potential investment in it over the first few years was too high, even at a reduced selling price. 

There is much to consider when purchasing a home.  Most buyers in today's real estate market do not have the money to handle expensive upgrades and/or repairs after purchase.  Smart sellers are putting their homes into tip top condition prior to listing their Long Beach homes on today's real estate market.  These homes are experiencing multiple offers and are selling very fast.  There just are not very many of them available.  Other Long Beach homes continue to sit on the real estate market because the buyers know they will not be able to do the work after purchase. 

Buying Long Beach homes requires a great deal of investigation and knowledge.  It is easy to overlook potentially expensive repairs that are just a short way down the road.  This is one of the many reasons it pays to hire a knowledgeable "Long Beach Realtor®" to protect your interests when you are shopping for "Long Beach Real Estate".


Contact Laurie to begin the search for your new home

Main Street Realtors Long Beach - Laurie Manny - Long Beach 

Laurie Manny

Long Beach Realtor®

(562) 212-5420

244 Redondo Avenue
Belmont Heights
Long Beach, California 90803

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Posted on November 29, 2008 13:30:26 by Laurie Manny Professional Group
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To begin your search for the perfect home or to sell your home in the Long Beach area, begin your journey by calling Laurie Manny at (562) 212-5420.