Fixer-Upper or Money Pit, which is it?

Is it a fixer-upper or a money pit?

I posted last week about buying a Fixer-upper home and pretty much advised against it because of the potential budget breaking costs. I mentioned that if you meant painting and replacing the flooring it was not really a fixer-upper.

Almost immediately I saw a review of a book that takes you down almost the same track. Sid Davis, the author, has a name for the houses I mentioned; the ones that really just need to be cleaned and decorated. He calls them “beater-uppers.”

The book he wrote is called “A Survival Guide for Buying a House”. He specifically details the difference between a Money Pit nightmare and a “beater-upper.” The example used in the review was a low-income couple who bought a house in a good neighborhood that was under-priced because of the dirt and a bizarre decorating scheme.

They bought the place for at least 12% less than market and took an extra week off before moving to repaint everything in neutral colors and replace the vinyl and carpet. This was a definate win for them. I think it pretty clearly illustrates the difference between the two property types, too.

Leave the houses with structural problems or less than average mechancial systems to the Pros. Find a home that truly needs a dumpster, a mop and a paintbrush and you could have a winner on your hands.

Here’s a link to the book at Amazon if you’re interested:

Sid Davis Survival Guide

Copyright, Judi M Moore,, July 28, 2005, all rights reserved