I’m sure many of you have driven by a memorable house in your area that was a gem in its heyday. With a little tender loving care, it could be restored with all of its splendor. Meet Charise and Josh, who recently purchased that fixer-upper and took a chance on restoring it in Portland, OR. They are just one of the couples we’re featuring as part of our new #BeBrave series. The inspirational video series shares the heartwarming stories of real people who overcame their fears to become first-time homeowners.

Like many young couples, Charise and Josh didn’t think they were ready for the world of homeownership. Living in a fast-growing part of the country, they doubted they’d find what they wanted because of the high housing demand. Plus, they are busy professionals who weren’t certain they had the money or time for such an undertaking. Nonetheless, they rolled the dice on a fixer-upper they now call home. They were ready to take a leap of faith.

Assess Your Readiness Level

Before you fall too deep in love with the thought of homeownership, it’s important to evaluate your readiness. For starters, what do you want in your ideal home? Do you have a geographic area you’re most interested in?

It’s also important to consider your employment status and how much money you have in the bank for a down payment on a prospective home. In most cases, you’ll have to put down between 3% and 20% of the home’s purchase price. Getting preapproved will help you know just how much house you can afford. Also consider that your monthly mortgage payments could be higher than your rent payments.

The good news is, there is no magic involved with estimating home buying expenses. So with a little bit of number crunching, you will be able to ballpark your costs. Being financially and mentally prepared for these new responsibilities will get you off to a strong start.

Like with Charise and Josh, half of the battle is finding the confidence to pursue your homeownership dreams. The truth is, many people have some uncertainties about such a big decision. But as this couple discovered after buying their home, they were more prepared and capable than they thought.

The Value of Sweat Equity

Charise and Josh tackled their remodeling projects with their own two hands. If you’re considering buying a fixer-upper, you’re well ahead of the game if you have some handyman skills and motivation to tackle the improvements your home needs. Remember to take friends or family members with rehab experience into your network. Keeping your improvement projects in-house allows you to cut out pricy contractors and could save you a ton of money.

Your sweat equity will surely pay off because the improvements will increase the value of the home. Being an active contributor to your renovation will help you feel vested in your home and your community. You may find that you love some aspects of the demo, design or the manual labor.

The World of Fixer-Uppers

One big consideration when it comes to buying a fixer-upper is your time. Whether you’re renovating the home yourself or hiring contractors, home improvement projects can take a significant amount of time to complete. Be realistic about the time you may have to dedicate to shopping for materials and the amount of time your home may look like a war zone. You and your family will need to have patience and flexibility during the disruptive demolition period.

Be realistic that many renovation projects have some hidden cost associated. Be sure to assess the “bones” of the home, such as a solid roof, the foundation and a good floor plan. Evaluating the configuration and flow of the house will help you determine whether you want to knock down additional walls or rearrange the floor plan.

Estimate your renovation costs as well as a remodeling budget. It may be wise to use a contractor to estimate the project if you’re new to home renovation. From laying tile or carpet to replacing windows and doors, it’s important that you or your contractor have the proper tools for the job. Tool rental can be another big expense to consider in your costs.

Although it was a little scary, in the end, Charise and Josh were glad that they invested in their fixer-upper and their future via homeownership. If you’re thinking about buying a house and have your eye on a home that needs renovations, be realistic when evaluating your readiness. Then do some research on renovation costs and decide whether you’re willing to put some sweat equity into the home. #BeBrave.

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