JEng however much work you think it will take to fix up a foreclosure, quadruple it. Your muscles will ache, you'll be filthy from worming around in the crawlspace and attic coughing on dust and mold, you'll be running up your credit cards with unexpected purchases when major stuff breaks. Usually at 10pm on a Friday or Saturday. And that's just the first week! You'll still have a to-do list four pages long.
I also hope you like camping. We bought a foreclosure, and spent several weeks shivering by space heaters until an HVAC guy could come put a new furnace in. We also spent days without laundry or showers or flushing toilets because we were working on the plumbing. Ever have dirty hands and not have any water to wash them in? Get used to that.
And we almost lost the mortgage (which would have led to bankruptcy) shortly after moving in -- our homeowners insurance canceled our policy because they saw the roof was "old". They didn't even give us enough advance notice to get a roofer to come out and do a new roof. (We eventually worked it out, but not before I aged about 10 years in one month.)
If you're made of sterner stuff then I, then perhaps it will be a fun adventure. However, my experience with our foreclosure strained my sanity and my marriage. The ONLY way I'd ever do this again was if I had the money to both buy AND renovate while still living in my old house during the ENTIRE process.
Renovating a foreclosure while living in it? Pfft.
Originally Posted by sdsester
Have you factored in how much you will need to sink into your place to make it saleable at a fair price?
Yup, the many many hours painting and a several grand for new flooring and other odds and ends were expenses we had not initially expected.
I think in addition to a good real estate person you should line up an independent inspector to go through your current place and any place you find to let you know what you are in for.
Man I wish I had this advice before we sold our house. Our buyer's inspector found a major issue that I SHOULD have found and corrected before ever putting the house on the market. Stupid me.