Blog Education The Right Project House for First Time Buyers

The Right Project House for First Time Buyers

By Bobby Curtis, May 8, 2021

Right now, when it feels like there is 1 house for every 10 buyers out there, many buyers are having to adjust their expectation in a house. And if they see something they think will meet their needs, they are often writing an offer. Interestingly many of these buyers may have started off with a laundry list of what their needs are. As their offers have been rejected, they have boiled that list down to what their true needs are. In doing that, some buyers are considering houses that have the prime elements they are looking for, and then rely on the future renovation projects they will do to get it the rest of the way there.

Best Bang For Your Buck

Here are my thoughts on what projects new buyers should focus on. Buy something you can move right into (or move in within 60 days). Most traditional loans require buyers move in within 2 months, so find something that is livable. When it comes to projects to take on, consider the things that traditionally increase the value of the house. The kitchen and baths are a great start.

If you’re willing to do more updates, consider something that doesn’t need structural changes, or changes that will require an architect. Pulling in an architect increases costs exponentially. It also usually means city building permits are necessary in order to make those improvements. Many cities are back-logged right now, and might not even be able to look at those plans for 3 months. Stick to surface updates like paint, flooring, and lighting. For a handy person, those are even things you can do yourself. Thoughtfully updating these, along with the kitchen and baths, will typically bring back a high return for what you investment.

More Than Cosmetics

While I recommend generally staying away from houses with structural issues, making updates to the electrical can be easy enough, and is one of the most important upgrades to make when it comes to safety. Do yourself a favor though and hire a licensed electrician. If you find a home you love that has 2 prong outlets, no GFCI protection in kitchen or baths, or has an unsafe electric panel, these are prime for upgrading. Not only will it be safer, it adds modern conveniences. You will need these kinds of upgrades later down the road anyway to make further improvements in the house that you really want. While this electric project could average between $7,500 – $10,000 or more, if you’re buying in a market where the average cost of a house is over $500,000, that doesn’t feel like too much.

Looking for more of a project? Here are some tips for something more extensive: Click Here.


Bobby Curtis

Principal Broker & Licensed Contractor

Meet Bobby Curtis.  Buying agent. Listing agent.  Renovator.

A down-to-earth Midwesterner, Bobby graduated from the University of Michigan, and headed to Portland in 2004. He began a career in the pharmaceutical industry focusing on sales, marketing, and consulting.  In those five years, he was even lucky enough to roam around Europe for short assignment in Switzerland. When he came back to Portland he took some time to discover what he was really interested in. Homes. More specifically, architecture, restoration, and entrepreneurship. After getting his real estate license in 2011, he purchased his first house in Portland to restore, redesign, then sell. Bobby rolled up his sleeves and started in on what would become his real career interest – transforming distressed houses into stand out homes by discovering the beauty of each unique property. Since that time Bobby has bought and restored several houses each year in Portland, both large and small, with great success.  Armed with extensive first-hand knowledge of restoration, Bobby offers his clients an exceptional eye to pinpoint property potential and value.  Whether you are searching for a complete fixer property, or a shining, buttoned-up stunner, he is skilled and enjoys guiding clients through the process of finding the perfect place. If you are selling your home or investment property, Bobby showcases his clients homes like he was selling his own. That kind of attention to detail will present all of the property’s best features.  It's because he has bought and sold properties of his own each year, that he better understands what it’s like to be in his clients shoes, and to navigate through the current real estate market. As an experienced broker and professional, Bobby is able to negotiate the best price and terms for his clients. If you’re looking to get a sneak peak of Bobby in action, you can watch him on an episode of First Time Flippers on the DIY Network, where he helped his mom flip her first house. Or you can catch him on KATU’s Afternoon Live daytime talk show once a month, discussing Portland Real Estate and House Restoration. Check it out here Contact Bobby at: 503-502-3066 Licensed Contractor #215071
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