4 Common Issues to Look For When Buying a House That Needs Renovation

Purchasing a home is an exciting event, but buying an older home that requires renovation can come with its challenges. The prospect of being able to put your stamp on a home is enticing to many house hunters, but if you’re not careful, the hidden costs can add up and your renovation budget can increase dramatically.

That’s why we’ve outlined a few of the most common issues to be aware of when buying a house that needs renovation.

The Age of the Roof


One of the most fundamental issues that you need to consider when buying a fixer-upper is the age and quality of the roof. First, you’ll want to determine when the roof was last replaced and what material was used, as each material has a different lifespan. For example, composition shingles need to be replaced about every 15 years, while asphalt shingles can last up to 25 years.

The chimney and any vents on the roof should also be looked at carefully, as well as the quality of the installation of the roofing materials. The integrity of these can make or break the integrity of the house overall; if moisture has been able to penetrate through the roof over time, this could seriously affect the entire structure.

Condition of the Kitchen and Baths

The condition of the kitchen and bathrooms are important when it comes to buying a house that needs renovation. While most house hunters already pay close attention to the surface-level condition of these rooms –– the style and decor, the layout, and the overall quality of the materials and appliances –– you need to look deeper to understand what’s happening below the surface. Specifically, you and your inspector should carefully examine the condition of the plumbing running through your kitchen and bathrooms to ensure it is up to code, that the water pressure is adequate, and that the faucets run both hot and cold water. Similarly, check for signs of hard water or iron-rich water around faucets, sinks, and toilets. This may appear as rust-colored stains or a scummy build-up. Kitchen and bath remodels can be significant investments when it comes to home renovation, but being able to make those upgrades using your existing plumbing can make a huge difference when it comes to your budget.

Broken Windows


Windows are an integral part to maintaining a comfortable and energy efficient home, but when you’re buying a house that requires renovation, replacing windows can be an enormous expense depending on the age, number, and style of the windows.

First, check the window frames for rot, damage, or cracking; if there is significant damage to the frame, you’ll probably need to replace these. If the frames appear to be in good shape, you may be able to get away with only replacing the glass.

Next, look for any windows that have a frosted look to them, or a build up of condensation or fog, as this could indicate that the window seal is broken. This occurs when a window pane is made from two panes of glass to enhance the insulation and the seal between those panes breaks. In addition to obscuring your view, this will cause air to leak in and out of your home, and therefore, means they need to be replaced.

Outdoor additions

The exterior space of your home shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re considering a home that will require renovations. Older homes may not have garages or storage spaces; without these spaces, you could find yourself parking your car on the street indefinitely. If the house has an elevated deck or balcony, you’ll want to carefully inspect the supports underneath to make sure they’re solid. If the property has no outdoor living spaces, such as patios or porches, it may be worth asking why. Can the foundation support the addition of an outdoor space? Are there zoning or permitting issues in play? Answering these questions sooner rather than later can save a lot of time and heartache, since the thing you would want to do is have a vision for indoor-outdoor living that you ultimately cannot execute.

Contact A-List Builders

If you’re committed to buying a house that requires renovation, you want to make sure you choose an experienced contracting service that you can trust. At A-List Builders, we have a team of dedicated designers and committed craftsmen who can guide you through the renovation process from start to finish. From indoor and outdoor remodeling to those restoration and renovation for estate properties, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free in-home consultation!

Our clients believe in us.

Here is what a few of them say.

  • Kobi R.

    It’s been years since I’ve done any work to my home so I was nervous about the whole project. Thankfully, I found a company that not only provided me with a patient ( I am very particular) and punctual contractor, Rani, but the job came out better than I expected. After doing such an amazing job on the kitchen, I expressed to Rani that I would like to do some more work with him but money, unfortunately, doesn’t grow on trees. Fortunately, Rani found an affordable way for me to redo all the bathrooms and flooring throughout the house.

  • Beverly S.

    Our initial meeting with Rani was excellent due to him giving us information and ideas we hadn’t thought of. He returned a week later with a presentation for our kitchen. Again, we were surprised at his additional ideals and his presentation. We had previously had two of the big-box stores come out so we had an idea of cost. Rani was more reasonable and offered us better and more creative ideas. Our kitchen is completed and we feel we qualify for Better Homes & Gardens. We would recommend our experience and job to everyone.

  • Warren M.

    After about a year and a half after we remodeled our bathroom, we had some minor electrical issues and reached out to A-List Builders. Ben followed up consistently and in a timely manner until my needed repair work was done.

  • Debbie W.

    Everyone was professional, nice and knowledgeable. I am so happy with their work and I will be using them again for my next project. In addition, I will be referring them (which I don't do unless I completely trust a job well done) to my family and friends. Thank you, again, for such a positive experience.

  • Deborah B.

    I hired A-List for a large restoration project. The project involved wall replacement with framing & drywall, stucco, exterior & interior painting, foundation reinforcement, a new exterior gate, fence repair, brick & tile walkways. Ben was the only contractor I interviewed who recommended that an engineer inspect the foundation as part of the evaluation process. Megan cheerfully worked through the process with my insurance company. All of the on-site workers were a pleasure to work with. They arrived early, were professional, & kept the work-site clean & organized...even the city inspector commented positively about A-List's knowledge & organization. A-List Builders did a great job & their follow-up was excellent.

  • Lou D.

    Like so many people in LA we bought a fixer upper. Over the last 5 years we have searched intently for a contractor we could trust. Never has a contractor come on our property that affected us the way Ben and Megan from A-List Builders have. They immediately understood our needs and made brilliant suggestions. They answered every question, every call, and it was such a difference dealing with them than any company we've ever hired before. They did not waste a minute of our time, nor did they try to get us to do more than we wanted. Their pricing is more than fair. They are so good at what they do and completely trustworthy and make hard things much easier. There actually IS a really good General Contractor out there and a company that does all that it promises and more.

  • Anonymous

    I used A-List Builders for my Bathroom Remodel and my bathroom is more beautiful now than I could have ever imagined...I met with Ben who gave me a free estimate for the job and knew right away that A-List Builders was the company I was going to use for the job. Their estimate was fair, and their communication throughout the entire process was fantastic. I always knew there was going to be someone else on the other line if I needed to get a hold of them for any reason. Their workers were true pros that did an immaculate job, excellent craftmanship and very good at keeping the renovation area very clean. I absolutely love my new bathroom and have already recommended them to two of my friends. Truly a great experience!

So, what do you think?

If you’re ready to start talking about your project,
pick up the phone and give us a call at