A fixer-upper is a real-estate slang word for a property that will require maintenance work (redecoration, reconstruction or redesign), though it usually can be lived in as it is.
They are popular with buyers who wish to raise the property's potential value to get a return on investment, a practice known as flipping, or as a starter home for buyers on a budget. Home-improvement television shows touting do-it-yourself renovation techniques have made fixer-uppers more popular, but during a real-estate downturn, with newer homes available at depressed prices, there is often reduced interest. Inexperienced buyers frequently underestimate the amount and cost of repairs necessary to make a home livable or saleable. Structural and service issues such as a home's foundation or plumbing, which may not be visible at first, can require expensive, professional contracting work.
According to Jack C. Richards in his book Interchange (Third Edition) Volume Three, the expression 'Fixer-Upper' describes a place for sale at a lower price because it needs a lot of repairs.
Film and television
Many comedy films have used fixer-upper renovations as a central part of the plot, among them:
- Are We Done Yet? (2007)
- The Money Pit (1986)
- Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
- George Washington Slept Here (1942)
Flipping of rundown houses has also been the subject of various reality television shows, including:
- Jeffrey Rothfeder. "Should You Buy That Fixer-Upper?". This Old House. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
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