Madison Bargain Fixer-Uppers Reward Patience, Prudence

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     If you were one of the brave Madison real estate investors who decided a few years back that the real estate meltdown was an awfully good buying opportunity, congratulations on being able to resist any naysayers. The fact that real estate has always lived up to its name (“real”) is easy to forget when prices have hit the basement—especially when the surrounding economic news is dire.

    Those were days when Madison fixer-upper opportunities were available for shockingly low asking prices—and before long, the shockingly low asking prices began to look normal and reasonable. “Bank owned homes” became a hugely popular search term as foreclosure numbers skyrocketed. It’s hard to recall the way it really felt, but any buying into that real estate market seemed like a swashbuckling act of raw courage.

    Today the Madison market still offers opportunities for bargain hunters, but they tend to be of a different kind. When a low asking price stands out in one of today’s Madison listings, it’s likely to fall into one of two categories:

    CATEGORY 1: The home’s location has one or more characteristics that the majority of prospective buyers finds off-putting. There’s not much the seller can do in this case, except wait for the right buyer to appear. In all likelihood, it will be someone for whom the issue isn’t an issue at all. If the school district isn’t up to snuff, for instance, a buyer with no school-age kids (and no chance the need will arise to sell anytime soon) may snap up a real bargain.

    CATEGORY 2: It’s a home that needs work: a classical fixer-upper. If the buyer is an investor with a flip in mind, it’s vital to get an accurate read on the amount of time, money and effort it will take to rehabilitate the investment. That may seem like it deserves a “duh!”—but it’s all too tempting to let a fantastic asking price blind you into underestimating how far from saleable a badly maintained residence really is. If the buyers are going to be the ultimate residents, enjoy do-it-yourself projects, and are willing to take the necessary time to nurse a fixer into shape, it’s only necessary to determine that no overwhelming structural issues are beneath the surface. If all is well, it can turn out to be the dream opportunity they were hoping for.

    Needless to say, fixer-uppers may not be for everybody—but there’s sure to be something for everybody among today’s Madison offerings. If you will be in the market anytime soon, give me a call to discuss how far you’ve gotten in creating your wish list: there may be a perfect fit right now waiting for you to appear!

    Jen Stauter Kornstedt
    HomeTeam4U-Stark Company Realtors
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