repainting a duplexLast night, I was reminded why I think HGTV bears some of the responsibility for the current duplex market.

My clients and I went back for a second showing of a bank owned duplex where the previous home owner had clearly undertaken some do-it-yourself home renovations.

Trouble was, he didn’t know what he was doing.

Oh, the refinished hardwood floors and exposed brick chimney looked really cool.

Unfortunately, however, the homeowner also forgot to install a heat source on the third floor.

The kitchen cabinets looked good too. I just wish that duplex owner had also bought glass for the broken windows instead of using masking tape.

Fortunately, my clients were wise enough to invite a FHA 203k approved contractor along to the showing so that they could get an accurate and professional opinion of what repairs were going to cost them; before they put in an offer.

After all, if the cost of rehabbing the duplex, when added to the cost of purchasing it, was more than the finished property would be worth in today’s market, they would find themselves upside down once they were finished with the repairs. Just like the previous homeowner.

When you’re looking at buying a duplex that needs either a little or a lot of work, it’s  important to remember that big repairs and improvements aren’t as easy as they appear on HGTV.

If you’re considering using a FHA 203k loan to finance those repairs, it’s not a bad idea to get one of their approved contractors to give you a professional opinion before you even put ink on a page.

There are always unexpected surprises and expenses, that can leave you frustrated and broke. And if you’re ambitious enough to take that kind of work on, you also deserve to be compensated for your time and energy in the form of equity.

Remember to build all of those expenses into your thinking when you write an offer to buy a duplex.