Take care when buying house to renovate it


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Love a home’s location but not the floor plan? Buy a house to renovate it. But be careful.

“Buyers will say, ‘This is the best house in the location I really want,’ but they know they will need to do some improvements to make the home what they want,” says Bud Dietrich, an architect in New Port Richey, Florida.

Older homes are outdated

With U.S. government statistics showing the median age of an owner-occupied home was 37 years in 2011, up from 23 years old in 1985, lots of homes are outdated, with kitchens walled away from the family room, or small closets, says David Andreozzi, an architect in Barrington, Rhode Island.

A homebuyer who wants to remodel must tread carefully: Are the desired changes structurally possible? How much will it cost? Can the remodeling expense be financed?

Here, experts weigh in with answers.