With so many of us tuned into reality renovation shows, the trend to buy a fixer-upper is on the rise. So, what are the pros and cons of this idea?

Image: Cade Mooney.

The structure

It is important to have a property thoroughly inspected before you buy. Buying a home that isn’t structurally sound will run away with your renovation dollars. Damage isn’t always easy to spot – things like termite infestations and hidden leaks can mean the fixer-upper actually needs to be demolished not renovated.

What’s your timeframe?

Renovations take time. Often things arise during a renovation that may add to the initial schedule. If you are running on a tight timeframe, renovations may not be for you. Have this discussion with your builder sooner rather than later, to assess if the fixer-upper fits with your schedule. If you have to rent while the build is taking place, you need to calculate this cost in. It’s important to have a realistic understanding of the timeframe before deciding whether to proceed.


Fixer-uppers can be earn you a lucrative resale profit if you buy at the right price, but you need to get an accurate quote for renovations so you can decide if the project is within your budget and if it will represent good value for resale. You should also consider having a contingency buffer in case of unexpected issues along the way.

Renovated facade.


An experienced builder can help you understand what, if any, issues you may encounter with the local council. You should be aware of any council regulations that may apply to your site before you purchase a property.

renovations timeframe

Location is all-important

While you might find the perfect fixer-upper, you need to consider where it is located. Buyers are looking to live in areas where they have the facilities they need within easy reach, including shops, schools and hospitals. Do your research about home values in the area too. You need to be careful not to overcapitalise. Find out what buyers expect to pay in the area.

renovations location

Image: Cade Mooney.

If you are thinking about renovating a fixer-upper, our team at Shadforth Lythgo can help. We can provide accurate time/cost estimates to help you decide on a project that’s right for you. Call us on (07) 5493 9757 to chat about your plans.