Nobody Wants to Buy a Fixer-Upper Right Now
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Nobody Wants to Buy a Fixer-Upper Right Now

Homes that need extensive renovations are scaring off already cash-strapped buyers, real-estate agents say

By VERONICA DAGHER
Thu, Jun 29, 2023 8:33amGrey Clock 3 min

They want to buy a house. They just don’t want to hire a contractor.

Real-estate agents say buyers right now seem in no mood to take on the additional costs and headaches of major renovation projects. There is no national data tracking how much quicker renovated homes sell than unrenovated ones, but there are signs of this change. It is one reason sellers are receiving an average of three offers now, compared with around six a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The drop in demand for unrenovated homes is mostly driven by high mortgage rates, buyers and their agents said. Fixer-uppers are always a risky proposition for buyers, but now they are more costly as the rates for home loans and construction loans have both increased, on top of high property prices.

This push higher in rates has widened the gap in sale time between turnkey and non-renovated properties, say agents. For sellers, this means a home in need of repair often sits on the market longer unless they attempt to do more work before listing.

The appetite for renovations is lower both for those shopping for their main property and second homes, say agents.

Tommy Byrd, 72 years old, looked at about a dozen unrenovated homes in his hunt for a vacation house in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. He recently decided to limit his search to only renovated homes as he doesn’t want to manage the renovation from another state.

“I’d prefer to purchase a turnkey property,” he said.

Sellers can also no longer count on a frenzy of offers from buyers willing to waive inspections on properties in need of repairs, said Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist. In New York City, fixer-uppers are generally sitting on the market for longer, said Benjamin Dixon, a real-estate agent there.

This means buyers can usually be choosier about homes that need upgrades, such as new hardwood floors, kitchens, bathrooms or even a fresh coat of paint, Yun said.

When Bob Evans, 66, put his two-bedroom Guilford, Conn., condominium on the market last spring, he figured a couple looking for a starter home would look past the dated décor and jump at the roughly $200,000 asking price.

In the five months or so it was on the market, about 60 people toured the 1,400-square-foot home that had carpeting and dark wood kitchen cabinets. Not one made an offer.

“They just couldn’t get past the ’80s-style décor, I guess,” he said.

Evans is spending about $20,000 to remodel the unit himself, gradually making upgrades such as removing the carpet to show the original wood floors. He plans to relist the condo later this year for about $250,000.

Anything that sits on the market for more than a month is usually either overpriced or in need of significant repairs or updates, said Taylor Marr, Redfin’s deputy chief economist. Homes stay on the market for a median of 27 days, up from 19 days a year ago, according to Redfin.

“Most home buyers right now simply don’t have enough money left over to invest in major repairs or remodelling,” said Marr.

Meg Jordan, 32, and her husband, Rob Boll, 34, initially thought they’d buy a fixer-upper. Starting last fall, they looked at nearly 30 homes, six of which needed complete remodelling.

They started to get second thoughts about buying a home that needed significant renovation as they were worried about surprise work, rising costs and higher interest rates.

The couple is in contract on a roughly $1.8 million home in East Hampton, N.Y., and are set to close in a few weeks. Before move-in, the house is getting a fresh coat of interior paint and then they plan to enjoy their first summer as homeowners near the beach.

“We’ll paint it, move in, and enjoy it,” said Jordan.

The decline in home buyers wishing to renovate hasn’t put a dent in overall spending on remodelling. In fact, the market for homeowner improvement and repair projects in the U.S. is projected to reach $484 billion in 2023, up from $471 billion last year and $328 billion in 2019, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

The people willing to take on these projects are often existing homeowners who want to upgrade their house without giving up their ultra low mortgage interest rate, real-estate agents and economists said.

In some real-estate markets, so few homes are for sale that buyers may have little choice but to purchase one that needs work, real-estate agents said. In other areas, bidding wars remain common and buyers can still get top dollar for unrenovated houses—it just may take longer.

“Even homes that need renovations are still selling near list price or slightly higher simply because there aren’t enough homes on the market to meet demand,” said Brian Slater, a Realtor in Phoenixville, Pa.



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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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A 600-Year-Old Medieval Villa Overlooking Florence Lists for €12 Million

The four-storey, lemon-hued villa boasts more than 16,000 square feet of living space and historic character and charm by the bucket load

By LIZ LUCKING
Wed, May 29, 2024 2 min

A 14th-century villa in the hills overlooking Florence, Italy, has hit the market for €12 million (US$13 million).

Surrounded by cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves, the quintessential Tuscan home was built for the Davanzati family—who were powerful bankers, merchants and patrons during the Italian Renaissance who have a museum named after them in the heart of the city. The villa was one of the family’s multiple country retreats, according to Lionard Luxury Real Estate, which brought the home to the market earlier this month.

Courtesy of Lionard

The four-storey, lemon-hued villa boasts more than 16,000 square feet of living space and historic character and charm by the bucket load.

The ballroom has a giant skylight.
Courtesy of Lionard

On the ground floor there are ​​a number of reception rooms and open-air living areas, with many of them boasting antique paintings, tapestries and stately fireplaces made of marble or carved stone.

The most “magnificent” room, according to Lionard, is the winter garden hall, a ballroom with stuccos, loggias and towering vaulted ceilings, illuminated by an Art Nouveau skylight.

Courtesy of Lionard

On the first floor are multiple double bedrooms and an antique library, and the second floor, while in need of renovation, offers the possibility of creating up to 12 en-suite bedrooms. The villa’s tower has a “delightful sitting room and a rooftop terrace offering a breathtaking view of the city of Florence,” the listing said.

The villa has ivy-covered loggias.
Courtesy of Lionard

The basement, meanwhile, has a cellar with brick vaults that are perfect for wine lovers. An elevator runs between the levels.

Outside, the grounds have well-kept gardens, rolling lawns, a fountain, ancient wells and ivy-covered loggias.

Mansion Global couldn’t determine who is selling the villa, or when they acquired it.

The property is “an oasis of peace,” the listing said, and “one of the most exclusive historical estates on the hills that surround the city of Florence.”

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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