Is a Fixer-Upper Your Key to a New Home?

How do you react to the word “fixer-upper?” Do you see exciting options for a house that may have been neglected or left in poor condition? Or do you cringe at the prospect of getting involved in a renovation project?

If you’re hunting for a home and having trouble finding the sweet spot of your needs, preferences and budget, a fixer-upper house can offer an excellent opportunity. Properties that need work are usually for sale at a discounted market price.

A fixer-upper can get you into a community you might not otherwise be able to afford. It can get you into a home close to where you work or one that is larger or has more features or land.

They fixed ’em up

Newlyweds Heather and Tim were house hunting in Rockingham County and got discouraged about finding a home they could raise a family in. Then they came across a split-level in foreclosure. Through a purchase/rehabilitation loan program, they took six months to complete exterior and interior repairs and remodeling. They could have lived in the house immediately, but decided to wait until the work was done.

Heather and Tim’s Home: Before

Heather and Tim’s Home: After

Andrew found his 3-bedroom home near Mt. Kearsarge State Park. The 1790 home had been vacant for years and needed many updates. He purchased it for $115,000 and got a rehab loan for $31,000 to repair and paint the exterior clapboards, add insulation, and remodel the kitchen. Now this single dad has the perfect place for his family.

Before you jump in…

You’ll have the property inspected by qualified professionals and get estimates from contractors for necessary repair work. There’s also paperwork to complete before the lender releases rehab funds.

Need help sorting through your financing options and planning? Purchase/rehab loans are available from New Hampshire Housing, offering up to $35,000 over the property’s purchase price for improvements. USDA-Rural Development and other lenders also have purchase/rehab programs.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions for housing-related topics to cover. You can reach us at

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