How I Got Started Investing in Fixer Uppers

My wife and I took the leap to a more rewarding future in 2002, when we bought my first fixer-upper house, repaired it, and rented it out.

What motivated us to get started in fixer-upper houses was the repercussions of the 9/11 attacks. Funds for environmental projects, such as the kind I worked on, were being redirected to military activities, and the future of my job looked shaky.

Responding to a Newspaper Ad

Prior to that I’d been reading about real estate investing and when my wife and I saw a newspaper ad for a fix-up property in a relatively nice neighborhood, we made an offer on it and wound up buying it. We didn’t have a lot of knowledge of what we had jumped into, buy we had a lot of enthusiasm. We learned as we went along.


In the area of house repair we became jacks of all trades, learning to repair almost anything that was in a fix-up house. But, in our fixer-upper niche business we were jacks-of-one-trade. We stay focused on what we do best- buy, fix, and rent. And, if you do something often enough, you get pretty good at it.

We worked like dogs, we slept like logs and we ate like hogs! But, now we have the routine down, and are making good money with less effort in our fixer-upper business.

Investing in fixer-uppers is a great way to get a business going in your spare time. It can allow you to gradually build up financial security, and eventually change into a career where you control your destiny.

Is Now a Bad Time to Invest?

When I bought my first house, many thought I was crazy. Following 9/11 there was a great deal of uncertainty about what would happen next. Would the country go to war? Would I lose my job? Would the economy go down the toilet?

Today, because of the possibility of a recession, people are making the same arguments. But remember, you don’t make money by buying houses when the economy is strong. Prices are too high then. You make your money when the economy is weak, and housing prices are low and negotiable.