How many home buyers say they want to buy a “Fixer Upper”? Yet, when it comes down to actually deciding on which home to buy, how many discover really don’t even want to paint? In my experience, most buyers! For those who really do want to tackle a fixer upper, potential profits (and pitfalls) abound.
Prime considerations when investing in any type of real estate include location, value and potential. Consider these questions when buying any “used” property, especially in Reno, NV:
- Could renovations/rebuilding bring the property up to the price point of newer/nicer homes nearby homes?
- Do you have the money and/or skills to buy and fix it up?
- Do you want to live at the property for a few years, or quickly flip and sell?
In Reno, investing in a fixer upper gives buyers the chance to move into a neighborhood they might not otherwise afford. Living in a home after it’s “fixed” gives it time to appreciate in value. Renovation shows on TV only hint at the reality of fixing up a property. Are you intrigued enough to consider it?
Vintage mixes with dated renovations: Original fireplace, tile counters circa 1980s.
One of my current listings at 4955 Mt. Rose Highway is a true “fixer upper” with potential:
This home in South Reno offers a great example of opportunity vs risk/reward. This area is close to Lake Tahoe, skiing and just about 15 minutes to downtown or the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Home prices rank among the highest in the region.
In the last year, 208 homes nearby homes sold. Of the 66 on one-acre or more, only 19 allowed horses, only 14 had RV access/parking. The median sold price for those 66 homes: $791,250. Compare that to the $499,000 list price of the property in the photo.
Built in 1965, the original ranch house is ripe for renovation.
This fixer upper was built in 1965 and sits on 2.35 acres. Back then, Mt. Rose Highway was considered “country” and “way out of town.” Today, luxury custom homes, gated communities with private golf courses mix with semi-custom subdivisions prevail. For the most part, older homes are the ones with enough land and the proper zoning (no HOAs and low-density suburban) to have horses, RVs or other toys.
That’s the opportunity.
The challenge: Having the vision, energy and funds to fix it up.
Best features: Wide-plank hardwood floors and a large, brick wood-burning fireplace. The home has a natural gas furnace and water heater (vs propane). Washoe County officials say the well was re-drilled in 2003.
This property – includes the main 2,171 square-foot house, a detached 3-car garage, and 300-square-foot guesthouse/home office. The buildings sit on the northwest corner of the level lot. The nearest neighbor to the east can’t even be seen. To the west, a greenbelt and a public access trail/dirt road borders this property, with a home beyond.
2.35 level acres is zoned for horses with sweeping Sierra Nevada views.
Ripe for renovation: The most obvious replacement priority: the wind-damaged roof. Some features appear original, or at least vintage – particularly the pink bathroom sink and the metal-framed windows. Dated, but perhaps not original: tiled kitchen counters and jetted tub upstairs. The property has a detached three-car garage of uncertain age, and a separate building that at one time was used as a guest quarters.
The pitfalls: The property is older, with everything that could/might entail. This property borders Mount Rose Highway, a direct access route to Lake Tahoe. The level 2.35 acres is mostly open space, with natural vegetation (mostly sagebrush). Prior owners had horses, and the county allows this.
Within a 2-mile radius, of 27 homes on 1 acre or more actively for sale only eight allow RVs (seven of those allow horses). Median list price: $1.1 million. Of the homes sold in the last year, the median price was $760,000. Of the many ways to parse and leverage statistics, lot size, age of home and HOA restrictions are being used here.
Does it pencil out?
This nearby home sold in 2010 for $275,000.
After renovations it sold in 2017 for $700,000.
That’s a question only an individual buyer can make on any fixer upper — whether it is this property, or a starter home on a city lot. Certainly bringing this property into the 21st century is possible. These last two photos are of the same house — Really! The first is from 2010, when it sold for $295,000. The second is from 2017, when it sold for $700,000. Is buying a fixer upper a challenge you are ready, willing and able to tackle? Let’s talk!
Contact me, or have your agent contact me, for a private showing:
Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor® with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada. She has lived in Reno for 20+ years.