Whistler Blog

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Fixer Upper

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Watching makeover shows on TV it can be tempting to think that buying a fixer-upper is the way to go when looking to create the home of your dreams. While it can be rewarding, it’s important to know that it doesn’t always go as planned!

It’s good to know the advantages and disadvantages before you jump in so we asked our Realtors for their advice on buying a fixer-upper in Squamish.


More house for your money

A home that’s in need of repair will obviously be on the market for a lower price than other, similar sized properties that require no work.

You can expect to see some good savings, allowing you to purchase a bigger house than you would otherwise be able to afford. However, always make sure you do your research into your repair costs as the savings may not be as high as you imagine.

Build your dream home

With the lower price tag, a fixer-upper could be a great way to get the home of your dreams! We commonly see this in popular neighbourhoods, where turnkey homes fetch a much higher price and sell very quickly.

If you’re looking for a particular location, with certain features, now is your chance to create your dream home in the area you want to live. Going in to a renovation project, you can decide exactly how you want your property to look and go from there.

Less competition

The Squamish market tends to move fairly quickly compared to other markets. There are always people ready to move on a property, and buying a home that needs some love is a good way of giving yourself more time and room to negotiate.

Good profit potential

A property that needs some work, but is situated in a popular neighbourhood obviously has great potential. Renovations done right can be very lucrative, and it’s not an impossible dream if you know you can do it properly.

You’re in control

Buying a fixer-upper gives you a blank canvas from which to work. You have control over everything from the colour of the walls, to the flooring, and everything in between. If it is a major overhaul, you can even dictate layouts and redesign the floorpan to suit your needs!


It can be more expensive than you expect

It’s important to know that while buying a fixer-upper can sound great, there are drawbacks, the most common being cost. You can have the best plan, but sometimes things are out of your control and the costs can build up quickly.

Before buying, make a realistic budget for the renovation and add at least 15%. Be sure to safeguard against potential costs and have a plan if it starts to build up.


Carrying out a home renovation can be extremely stressful. Depending on the state of your new property, you may not be able to live there until renovations are complete. Or, you may be living within a construction site!

Managing everything yourself adds strain to every aspect of your life, from work to relationships, so don’t enter into a project lightly.

Unexpected problems

As we mentioned there can be unexpected issues that will affect the cost, but it’s not just money that takes a hit. Problems can delay the time of the project, and this can in turn alter plans you may have had outside of the property.

You also can’t predict what will happen in between, from contractor issues, to life getting in the way!

The best thing to do is think long and hard about whether this is the right choice for you, and if you do choose to go ahead, be sure to have an exit strategy in case things go wrong.


For more information on buying a fixer-upper in Squamish, get in touch with one of our Realtors who will be happy to give you advice.