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Fixer-Upper Property Questions

A fixer-upper is real-estate property that needs considerable repairs and maintenance work, although it is still good enough to be lived in. Many people buy a fixer-upper so they can fix it and then raise the value of the property to get a good return on the investment. A few popular questions asked about fixer-uppers are mentioned below.

A potential buyer is interested in a fixer-upper house that I inherited but wants to buy it using a Contract for Deed. He doesn’t have the money for down payment and wants to use the $8000 tax credit for it. How safe is this for me?

You probably should not sell your house to someone who doesn’t have any assets or offer to close the deal at a lower sale price. What you could do is to explore leasing with option to purchase that would then give your potential buyer a little time to find the money or get approved for a loan.

I have a fixer-upper in Kansas City in which I have a friend staying, based on a verbal agreement. In lieu of repair work that he was planning to do, he hasn’t paid me any rent. Two months ago, I gave him notice to vacate since no repairs have been undertaken in the house in the past eight months. How can I evict him legally?

You would have to treat your friend as a regular tenant although no money is being paid, because he is still rendering you a service in lieu of rent money. In order for you to get him to move out, after having given him 30 days written notice, you would need to initiate an “unlawful detainer” proceeding in the Housing part of the Kansas City Municipal Court. The clerk at the court should be able to give you the necessary forms and information to proceed with this.

A potential buyer saw my fixer-upper and agreed to undertake the necessary repairs and upgrades. Later, he had a home inspector look at the property who then told him that the house was a piece of junk and not worth buying. Can I legally take action against the home inspector?

In all probability, you do not have a claim since a home inspection company is required to provide an assessment. Besides, you didn’t have a contract with the company to allege a breach. However, if the buyer signed a contract with you and now wants to back out, you could have a claim against him.

I have a house that has been paid for but needs numerous repairs to pass a home inspection for a new mortgage. Can I sell it “as is” or as a “fixer-upper”?

There could be investors willing to buy your home but you may not get the market value for it since they would be out to make a good profit. What they might do is buy the house “as is” and then repair it to sell it as a profit. This means that although you won’t get the price that you want, you would be able to at least sell the property. The other alternative would be to undertake some of the repairs so that you can increase your asking price for the house.

Buying a fixer-upper has many advantages like a lower sales price, potential for re-sale profit, less competition, and so on. However, it is always good practice to get a proper home inspection done if you want to buy a fixer-upper so you are aware of exactly what you are getting into.
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