If you are cash poor, have no prior experience in renovating houses, and have a busy demanding career/life you should think twice before buying a 'fixer-upper'. There have been major changes in the building industry that impact remodeling, repair and renovation costs.
- No fire hazards from aluminum wiring and no more lead based paint hazards after the 1970's.
- No easily rotted Masonite siding after the mid 1990's.
- You usually don't have to worry about polybutylene pipe leaks, or scraping "popcorn" or "cottage cheese" ceilings after 2000.
- The standards for newly installed heating & cooling systems changed in 2010 but many recent homes were built with the new standards.
If you wish to buy in an older neighborhood, consider buying a house that has been professionally updated by a licensed contractor and then have it carefully inspected and get a good residential service contract. Sometimes the true bargain sells at the highest dollar per square foot and the so-called bargain turns out to be a "money pit".