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Buying or Selling a Home/Sell/buy or Repair/rebuild


I'll try to make this short an too the point.(haha, remember the key word is TRY)

I own a nice piece of crap house that is located in a pretty desirable neighborhood. When I say crap, I mean it. It is 1100sqft made of block and built in 1955 and sits on a 6,817 sqft lot. The inside walls are plaster which makes it VERY DIFFICULT to hang anything, curtains included. Half the plumbing is old and galvanized.  It all needs to be updated along with the electrical. The roof is about 10 years old, but in my opinion, in really good shape.  The kitchen could use updated and really needs another bathroom as there currently is only one.The main construction and foundation seem to be fairly sound. In it's condition, I would be lucky to fetch $150 / $200k at most.
As I mentioned, the area it's located is very respectable area and the public schools are highly ranked in the state. Home values have remained steady and growing since day one.  Homes generally go for $375k all the way up into the millions.

Finally on to the question at hand...
The house is small, ugly and rundown. I need a bigger house.  I have $150 cash plus the house (fully owned free and clear).
Should I sell and add to my cash giving me a total of around $300 and move to a much larger house for that amount but in an area across town where the area may or may not be iffy. (I wouldn't have enough to buy in current area) Or put the $150 into this house, fix it up and add on to it?  Or, if I waited and saved up some more cash, would it fall into the price range of $175/$299k to tear down and built new?  What do you think?  I need a bigger place.
One more important detail...borrowing is not an option. I want to do this from what I already have.
What would you do?

I live in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area in Arizona.

Hey, Lisa.

I'm quite familiar with Scottsdale having spent a couple of years there back in the late 1980s.

I am presuming "$150" means $150,000.

What would I do? I would borrow against the house and use that money to fix it up. Let the home's value pay for its repairs and upgrades. That's always been my belief.

However, sometimes borrowing is not an option, even when the home is owned free and clear. In that case, if I'm not well-suited to doing things myself, like plumbing, drywalling, electricity, etc., then I'm going to move. I have found that it's just too expensive to have too many people working on the house.

I'm not sure you could tear down and build new in Scottsdale for $300,000, at least not anything that would be significantly bigger than what you already have.

I think the whole situation would probably depend on my age and where I was with family life because trying to juggle a job, a family, and renovating a home can be very taxing, and when it gets too much, it's the renovation that takes a back seat, usually making the matter worse than it was before. If one is close to retirement age, it might be worthwhile to stay.

Hope that helps you a little anyway, Lisa. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!


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Russel Ray


Through home inspections, I provide an education about real estate. I'm one of those rare home inspectors who has been involved in real estate in many different capacities: as a Realtor (in Texas), as a property investor/flipper, as a teacher, and as a marketing expert (for Realtors and home inspectors). I believe that my experience as a Realtor and property investor provides me with a different viewpoint about home inspections in that I work for my Clients, but when there are other people involved in helping my Clients, then I firmly believe in helping them, too. That includes Realtors (both the seller's and the buyer's), repair professionals (e.g., plumbers, electricians, etc.). If I can get all the players (seller, seller's Realtor, buyer, buyer's Realtor, and repair professionals) playing in the same sandbox together to accomplish goals as a TEAM (Together Everyone Accomplishes More), then I believe I have succeeded in my job as a home inspector. My profession is, in my opinion, much more than simply documenting the condition of a property and then take the money and run. I am also a rare breed in that I don't believe that one inspection fits the needs of all Clients, and I have led the industry in understanding that fact. For example, the goals of a property investor are far different than the goals of someone buying a property to live in. The goals of a seller (a pre-listing inspection) are far different than the goals of a buyer (a pre-purchase inspection). To that end, I offer 14 different types of inspections, e.g., STANDARD, LIST, RENTER, BASIC, MAINTENANCE, SPOT, and more. I believe in giving the benefit of the doubt to all professionals in whatever industry they represent until they prove me wrong.


Over 42 years in all aspects of real estate--building homes, renovating homes, inspecting homes, Realtor.

National Association of Certified Home Inspector, Better Business Bureau of San Diego

Graduate of Texas A&M University; College Station, Texas

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