The occasional real estate investor who has two or more properties under their belts, typically follow a basic buying and selling strategy. They look for key words in property listings and phrases such as “diamond in the rough” or “fixer upper for thedoing fixer upper work yourself right person.” Properly positioned, these homes can indeed be bargains depending upon how the math works out. But many times, a “fixer upper” means it’s only profitable if you can do the repair work yourself. In your spare time. With your own tools.

 That means a fair assessment of your “do it yourself” skills. If you’re more than handy around the house and can plumb a deck  before the ink dries, you’re probably a candidate. So when evaluating one of those “diamonds in the rough,” here are a few key considerations.

First, don’t fool yourself into being a pseudo-contractor. Most people can do a tape and paint job and certainly do some major cleaning but if you don’t know what Teflon tape is for, you might need to reconsider your DIY skill set. At minimum, get a quote from painters and plumbers on what needs to be fixed and how much it will cost for both labor and materials.

Second, pay a licensed appraiser to perform a complete appraisal on what your property will be worth once it’s repaired. Don’t look at listings in the area or think once you’ve to your project all gussied up you can get more out of it than the surround real estate. If you need to be conservative on anything, it’s the final sales price.

Your property needs to be bought at a bargain basement price then repaired to match up with the surrounding properties in the neighborhood, no more, no less. The more you try to improve your property beyond what’s required, you’re simply losing more money.