Fixer-Upper House

Don't Forget the Fixer-Upper

Inventory is down, prices are up, and we can’t build enough houses fast enough to solve the housing crisis. What’s more, home prices and rents are spiking, narrowing the availability of affordable homes. And yet, there are many homes throughout Tampa Bay sitting empty, abandoned, or expiring on the MLS. Why?


Enter what is commonly known as “the HGTV Effect.”


As a society, we have a fascination for the newest, shiniest object, and homes are no different. Think back 15 years. A typical home buyer would walk into a home, take in the floral wallpaper, brass fixtures, and overgrown planter beds, and look past the imperfections to see a home’s true potential. There was a consensus that they could make it work until they made it better.


Then came the rise of popular renovation and house hunting shows, bloggers, and social media influencers. Search any home-related hashtag on Instagram, and you’ll see thousands of curated vignettes featuring perfectly coordinated decor, shiny fixtures, trending paint techniques, and so much more. Unfortunately, there are very few instances where you see a before picture. All we see are these staged snapshots that many feel pressure to recreate in their own homes. Gone are the days when granite counters were a luxury, nice-to-have item. Now, not having granite or quartz is a deal-breaker. Buyer expectations are higher than ever for turn-key homes that are move-in ready from Day 1.


Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with high standards. The issue arises when we start to overlook older homes and neighborhoods for the new and shiny. These homes eventually fall into disrepair, and communities get a perceived reputation for being lessdesirable. You might not be willing or able to sink tens of thousands of dollars into a whole house flip, but a few gallons of paint, some elbow grease, and a new light fixture can work wonders. Even better, you won’t be paying the turn-key premium built into most updated home listing prices, saving you money in your monthly mortgage payment for more projects down the road. Your new home will reflect your tastes, and knowing you did it yourself provides a sense of pride. As a bonus, when enough people are willing to love on these older homes, curb appeal increases, breathing life into older neighborhoods, increasing property values, and revitalizing entire communities.


With housing supply at an all-time low and prices at record highs, homes that need some work are still an affordable option for many. If you are searching for your next home and think a fixer-upper might be for you, make sure to prepare from the beginning. Talk to your lender to find out if there are any restrictions to getting a loan, and use a home inspector that you trust to provide a thorough inspection report. Communicate openly with your REALTOR about your needs vs. wants, your budget, and how much renovation you’re willing to tackle to create your dream home. At Eaton Realty, our agents know the ins and outs of Tampa Bay’s neighborhoods, have a network of reliable vendors and inspectors and can help you find a home that will shine with just a little polishing. If you're looking for a fixer-upper in Hillsborough County, contact us today!


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