couple working on their fixer upper home in atlanta

The US housing market may finally be cooling, but getting onto the property ladder is sometimes difficult. One solution is to buy a discounted property that need renovation. The availability and prices of these ‘fixer-uppers’ vary greatly across the country, but Atlantans fortunately have quite a range of them, and often at attractively reduced prices.

StorageCafe research discovered which large US cities offer the best prospects for buying a fixer-upper at a good discount below the price of a regular ‘turnkey’ home that doesn’t need renovation. They found that, nationwide, fixer-uppers are 32% cheaper on average than turnkey homes, $307,000 compared to $448,000, and that Atlanta is up with the leaders, not only in terms of its inventory of fixer-uppers and their comparative costs but also the lot sizes they offer.

Atlanta Provides Best Fixer-Upper Cash Advantages Outside California

The study shows that Atlanta offers the greatest cash savings of any large US city outside California. The average cost of fixer-uppers in ATL is $249,450, which represents a cool saving of $300,550 over the cost of buying a regular turnkey home, substantially more than the national average saving. Atlantans who want to buy a home and know their way around a toolbox should take note — maybe it is no coincidence that the carpentry expert Clint Harp on the popular ‘Fixer-Upper’ TV show is a Georgia man!

Meanwhile in The Golden State, a Los Angeles fixer-upper can net you huge average savings of $501,000, but with the average price of such a property approaching $900K, you still need to spend big. Real estate is pricey in San Francisco, where an average fixer-upper costs no less than $1,094,000, though that still represents a sizable discount of around $405,000 over a turnkey home. San Diego and Oakland fixer-uppers cost around $450,000 and $334,000 less, respectively, than regular properties there.

Atlanta Has Top 10 Fixer-Upper Discounts & Self Storage to Help

In percentage terms, the savings when buying an Atlanta fixer-upper instead of a regular turnkey home equates to a 55% discount. This puts ATL in seventh place across the nation’s 50 largest cities in this regard, and only 10 percentage points away from the city offering the greatest discount, Omaha, Nebraska, where an average fixer-upper costs $129,000, 65% less than a turnkey home. Fixer-uppers in Kansas City, Missouri, are also worth looking out for, offering an average discount of 60%, while Houston, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana, are two cities not far behind this.

One way to make a fixer-upper affordable and not overwhelming is to renovate one room at a time. Materials and tools can be kept safely out of the way in a nearby Atlanta self storage unit — the average price for a standard 10’x10’ unit across the ATL metro is a reasonable $117 per month, below the national average of $132, as per Yardi Matrix data. The StorageCafe study also found that, across the 50 largest cities, fixer-uppers tend to be a lot smaller than standard homes, 1,465 sq. ft. as opposed to 1,928 sq. ft. Anyone moving from the latter to the former may have possessions they now no longer have room for, and their self storage unit would the ideal place for them until a new home can be found for every item.

Atlanta’s Fixer-Uppers Are on Some of the Nation’s Largest Lots

In addition to the financial gains Atlanta fixer-uppers afford, there are also benefits to be had in terms of space. Fixer-uppers in ATL have an average lot size of just over 10,000 square feet, which is considerably more than the average across the 50 largest cities (7,200 sq. ft.). And it is exceeded only by five large cities in the nation. Most of these are up the East Coast, namely Virginia Beach and Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina, while Jacksonville, Florida, offers the biggest fixer-upper lots, at over 21,000 square feet, and Seattle in Washington State gives slightly more than Atlanta.

Atlanta’s fixer-upper home sizes do not quite match their lot sizes, however, although with an average approaching 1,400 square feet, they are not so far off the average across the nation’s 50 largest cities of around 1,500 sq. ft. Among these cities, the largest fixer-upper homes can be found in Mesa, AZ (2,500 sq. ft.), Colorado Springs, CO (2.100sq. ft.), and Minneapolis, MN (2,000 sq. ft.). However, the fixer-upper discounts these cities offer, between 6% and 23%, are much less than can be realized in Atlanta.

Atlantans Can Access Above-Average Inventory of Fixer-Uppers

Anyone thinking of purchasing an Atlanta property needing renovation has a bit of choice in the ATL with 8% of the city’s housing stock comprised of fixer-uppers. While this is somewhat less than in Mid-Atlantic cities such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (26%), and Baltimore, Maryland (25%), it is higher than in most large US cities — fixer-uppers make up only 1% of housing inventory in places such as Houston, Texas, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida. Atlanta’s fixer-upper share of the housing stock is also more than the average over the 50 largest cities, which is about 6%.

Atlantan homebuyers who are mobile, perhaps working from home, can in fact choose any US city as their new location. To get a foot on the homebuying ladder, a fixer-upper in Detroit, Michigan, costs $59,900 on average, a discount of 48% over a turnkey, and fixer-uppers make up a substantial 22% of Motor City’s housing stock. With the second-lowest fixer-upper prices, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers properties needing renovation for an average of $79,900, and the difference between this and the price of a turnkey property is even better, a saving of 59%, plus the city’s fixer-uppers make up 12% of its housing inventory.

Chip and Joanna Gaines – Shiplap and All That

Chip and Joanna Gaines’ TV show ‘Fixer Upper’ is hugely popular for many reasons. For one, it shows people a pathway to the homeownership dream they thought was beyond them. Even with the increasing cost of construction materials, buying a property needing TLC can be a great way to get yourself some real estate — just be sure it has ‘good bones.’ You can also make your home just how you like it, and if it is smaller than you are used to, use your self storage unit to hold less frequently used items. Compared to most other cities’ residents, Atlantans have better opportunities to get a discounted home needing some renovation, in terms of both availability and costs. After doing your sums and looking around at property listings, you may decide that a fixer-upper is for you.

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