9 out of 10 buyers are looking for a house in great, move-in condition. Turnkey homes  sell faster, get a higher price, and obviously save wear and tear on buyers who are probably stressed enough from the move that they don’t need additional headaches. So why do I like the dilapidated houses that are gently known as fixers?

I suppose it comes from my background in construction. I see the sagging roof and the three inch drop in the kitchen floor as interesting challenges rather than show stoppers. I also know how much money is involved in new construction and think the decades of work put into most structures represent building capital that should be conserved. On the other hand, it’s a whole lot easier to start from scratch than to try to work with someone else’s mistakes and the effects of neglect on wooden structures.

Old Monte Rio Road FixerI did a quick search on the Sonoma County MLS listings and came across 75 properties in which the listing agents were honest enough to use the term “Fixer”. The best priced fixer in Sonoma County right now is a $99,000 project in Guerneville. What makes this cabin such an interesting opportunity is that the neighboring duplex with good parking and solid foundations is also on the market. There’s work to be done, but it’s hard to find three units on four lots for $400K. Let me know if you’d like more details on this.

At the other end of the spectrum is a <cough> bargain</cough> in downtown Sonoma with the low, low price of $1,145,000. A tear down on .14 of an acre. It’s amazing how much scope the word “Fixer” can provide. All I can take from this contrasting example of a fixer is that location, location, location is still alive and well as the primary driver in real estate values..

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