Finding Fixer Uppers in Catonsville & Ellicott City

Finding the perfect home can be tough in a crowded real estate market because most people don’t want to buy a project, they want the convenience of a home that is move-in ready. But for some, the opportunities and value that come with a fixer upper are hard to ignore.

A fixer upper is a home that needs either minor or significant rehabilitation before it can be used for its intended purpose. The repairs a fixer upper can need range from light cosmetic work, such as fresh paint or new carpet, to more intensive renovations, such as a new roof, foundation, plumbing, or electrical.

Fixer uppers offer unique opportunities because you can build some immediate equity in the property through a concept known as “forced appreciation.” Appreciation is the concept that properties tend to gain value over time. If the combined cost of the property and renovations end up being less than the market value of a comparable home in the area, you’ve just supercharged your home’s appreciation without waiting through years of average inflation.

Catonsville and Ellicott City offer abundant prospects for the homebuyer interested in fixer-upper opportunities. These neighboring historic towns have experienced home value appreciation well over national averages according to, and are frequently cited by national publications as desirable places to live based on their plentiful and diverse amenities. Settled prior to the Victorian era, this region is home to numerous historic structures and architectural styles to suit any taste.

But a fixer upper is not for everyone. It requires time, patience, a well-thought-out budget, loans, expecting the unexpected, and so much more. Rehabbing or renovating a home is not for someone who is impatient or easily distracted. Troubles will arise when updating a home, so be prepared.

Maintaining your budget while rehabbing a home is difficult. For example, you might decide that you need new cabinets, but suddenly you realize that you also need new electrical work in the wall behind those cabinets. It’s very difficult, especially as a new homebuyer, to accurately estimate the total cost of rehab on a project. The same applies for maintaining your timeline. Whether you plan to do the work yourself or not, you have to be present at the property often to make sure the work is being finished correctly.

Rehabbing a home is usually not a peaceful experience. If you plan to do the work yourself, expect to come home each day with cuts, bruises, and a lot of frustration. If you plan on hiring it out, anticipate dealing with contractors who say one thing and do another, show up late, and miss deadlines.

If you do decide to invest in a fixer-upper then stay focused on the end goals—home equity, profit, and increased value of living. Because buying a house that needs work proves to be less desirable than a brand new home, there will be fewer competitors interested in buying the home. It’s your opportunity to snatch a bargain without the pain of a bidding war. If you are considering flipping houses for simply a business strategy, the industry standard rule of thumb is to buy a fixer-upper for at least 20 to 30 percent below its ‘fixed-up’ market value.