Main Line Homes Blog


Buying a fixer upper. That is way beyond my skill level!

Buying a fixer upper.

With all the shows on TV showing homes being flipped for cash, many buyers when they first start looking for homes are asking for fixer uppers. I mean how hard can it be with all these shows on TV and everyone making money. Forget about the drama in those shows of the problems unearthed during rehab, the delays incurred waiting for permits and the fact the show is paying the wages of those featured, so those costs are not included. 

Frankly, for Main Line and Tredyffrin Easttown home buyers, buying a fixer upper can be a good option. Yes, there is definitely competition. With the lack of inventory, not only are contractors and builders looking for these homes, but many buyers are as well.

However when a buyer sees many fixer uppers their comeback is:

"That is way beyond my skill level!"

Not every home looks this bad

Home in need of rehab

Some homes need purely cosmetic touch ups, many need a little more work and while it may be beyond the skill level of most buyers, you can include these homes in your purchase options using a renovation loan.

There are plenty of posts on Active Rain that cover the ins and outs of renovation loans, see below or search the term. On the whole the main thing is these loans allow you to consider a home that needs work, using a contractor you get estimates and the appraised value takes into account the work you will do as if it is already done. So you can purchase the home and draw down on those additional funds as the work is completed by the contractor, FHA loans include an inspector/consultant as well.

Renovation Loan Inspectors and Consultants by Joe Petrowsky

Fannie Mae Homestyle Renovastion Loans for Homeowners and Investors by Dale Cosack

What you need to know about Renovation Loans Home Buyer Tips by Melanie Cameron includes a video with Mark Vernon of Guaranteed Rate

For buyers along the Main Line and the Tredyffrin Easttown area where inventory is light, widening the purchase options and being able to consider other homes that may be beyond their skill set for work may help them get into a home in their desired neighborhood.

Need a new kitchen or bathroom, windows or a new roof? A renovation loan can cover the cost and you hire a contractor to do the work.

If you have not considered this option before or want more information about potential Main Line and Tredyffrin Easttown homes contact me today. Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543,,


If you are buying or selling on or around Tredyffrin Easttown or along the Main Line we can help you,  contact us or connect

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Comment balloon 12 commentsNick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 • January 03 2019 04:23PM



Nice commentary and a wonderfuul source of professionals you shared with us.  Yes, you have to know what you are doing.  There all kinds of levels in this category.  Wishing you a delightful rest of the week.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) 6 months ago

Hello Nick and Trydy,  I have a investor that works trash homes and gets them for low prices but has 3 teams of crews that all 3 does a great job.


Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 6 months ago

Hi Nick... I often have clients who say they are ready to do work for the right price... and I can't remember the last time one of them actually purchased a home that needed work! I think when reality hits they get a bit nervous.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) 6 months ago

There are many options out there for buyers and for financing.  It's good to have a good agent to guide them to finding out all their options - they might be happily surprised!

Posted by Francine Viola, REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) 6 months ago

Ron and Alexandra Seigel thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

Will Hamm he sounds like he has it down.

Nina Hollander that is very true, they also have to beat the cash buyers who have more experience and can move quicker.


Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 6 months ago

Francine Viola anything that allows a buyer to widen their options is a good thing, they often don't know all the options.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 6 months ago

Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - Oh how I wish I had the power to make this one a Feature on ActiveRain. You speak for many of us and your writing on this topic along with photo too is just perfect!

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 6 months ago

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP thank you somuch for such a wonderful, positive and empowering comment.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 6 months ago

When I was an agent we had a few people who bought and renovated fixer houses. Almost all were purchased with seller financing, but one couple did a loan and then were dismayed when they had to hire contractors to do the work they knew how to do. You really can't blame the bank for wanting the work done by professionals, but it does cost more!

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 6 months ago

Hi Nick

Fixer upper can mean all sorts of things depending on your skills level, interest, and of course budget. I like how your perspective can open the eyes of those who cannot find, or afford, a home that meets their needs and is move-in ready! There ARE options.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 6 months ago

Good morning Nick, your post is excellent and anyone thinking a fixer-upper is right for them needs to read it. It's certainly not as easy as it looks on TV!

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) 6 months ago

Marte Cliff banks are protecting their investment, and some contractors will work with you to reduce the cost and allow you to do some of the demolition or be another pair of unpaid hands on the project. 

Jeff Dowler, CRS I believe one of our jobs as an agent is to let our clients know their are options that they may not have considered and to bring those to their attention.

Amanda S. Davidson TV shows are deceptive as they never show the permitting process, or point out that the main stars are being paid and therefore not charging for their services when prices are shown. Whilst they are called reality shows, they often are far from reality.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 6 months ago

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