Buyer's Guide
Lansing Area Real Estate

Previously Owned Homes
Older homes can offer charm and character that is often lacking in more modern homes

Although a newly built home has certain attractions, it may be downright impossible to even consider a new home. If, for instance,
you want to live in a mature East Lansing neighborhood within walking distance of campus a new home may be out of the question. Also, your financial situation may dictate that you look at older homes because they’re more affordable. 

Just because a home is older doesn’t mean that it’s worn out. Older homes have a particular charm that is unique to the period in which they were built. Their architecture reflects a different way of living and a more craftsman-like style of building construction. Older homes that have been constantly maintained and updated can be as good as any newly built home.

A previously owned home can also be a great value because they usually offer more space and costly improvements such as fences, paved driveways and landscaping are already included with the house. In addition, these homes are generally located in more established neighborhoods and communities. This means that recreational facilities, support services, transportation links, schools and shopping centers are already in place.

When shopping for an older home, remember that it's not going to be perfect. It may need some updating or be in need of repair. Also, it would be a miracle
if the seller has decorated with the same paint and wallpaper you would have selected. You’ll need to use your imagination and look beyond the current owner’s taste in flooring and wall coverings and concentrate on what the rooms might look like if you did them in your own style.

Decorating and updating costs will vary with your own personal whims, so it would be a good idea to visit some of the many places that sell floor and wall coverings to find out how much you might be spending for paint, wallpaper, tile, and carpet.

Time and the elements cause wear and tear on any home. Roofing, carpeting, water heaters, appliances, furnaces and air conditioning units will eventually wear out. Kitchen cabinets, counter tops, ceramic tile, and bathroom fixtures may go out of style long before becoming unserviceable. As you look through
a home you’ll want to take note of what items appear to be in need of replacement and be objective about how serious a problem they really are. An older water heater can be replaced for less than $500, but a new roof could cost eight to twelve times as much.

Warranties are offered for previously owned homes. The cost is usually only a few hundred dollars and might be worth considering. They will usually cover the major calamities that could occur during the first year of ownership. 

Fixer-Uppers  These homes used to be called “Handyman Specials”, now they’re referred to as homes with “Great Potential”. They’re often under-priced compared to other homes in the neighborhood because they are in need of serious repair or updating. Buying such a place is a good way to own a home that you ordinarily wouldn't be able to afford. If you're handy with tools, or can hold off on improvements until they fit your budget, this could be the home for you. Before purchasing such a home, you should have it thoroughly inspected and have a contractor give you an estimate on repair costs.

Before entering into this kind of venture, be sure that you will
have the time and money to complete necessary work. Some
neighborhoods and communities have restrictions limiting how long your home’s exterior can be torn up or left unattended. Also, should you suddenly decide to move while in the midst of your renovation, you’ll find that all the unfinished work will make your home difficult to sell.

Even if you’re talented and are inclined to do this type of work, a fixer-upper may not be for you…especially if you have small children. Keep in mind that there will be various disruptions, with rooms being closed off, different teams of workmen trooping in and out of the place, the kitchen potentially becoming unusable for a period of time, and so on. Weigh the potential savings against the potential disruption of your home life before deciding to tackle a home that needs a lot of TLC..

Lansing, East Lansing, Okemos, Haslett, Williamston, DeWitt, Bath, Perry, Holt, Mason, Leslie, Dansville
Stockbridge,  Webberville, Grand Ledge, Charlotte, Olivet, Potterville, Eaton Rapids, St. Johns, Laingsburg, Owosso, Portland

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Office:   517-324-3200
Fax:   517-324-3201
Toll Free:   877-326-3772


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