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HGTV stars share how to avoid buying a money pit

Alyssa Pry
Personal Finance Reporter

If you’re looking to buy a fixer-upper, you’ve probably done your research. But to make sure you’re not moving into a money pit, Bristol and Aubrey Marunde, hosts of the new season of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop Vegas” shared advice for how to spot flaws and find your dream home.

“The biggest thing in real estate is location,” Aubrey says. It’s harder to resell a home that backs into a major street or railroad tracks, so they avoid purchasing these kinds of properties.

If you do find a place you like, the Marundes recommend being as thorough as possible, and taking a look at “big ticket” items during that first walk-through like the heating, plumbing and electrical systems.

“Don’t be afraid to get into the attic and look around, or look at the foundation,” Bristol says. He also recommends bringing an inspector to the property. Hiring an inspector can range from $300 to $600, but will save you much more if they spot larger issues.

Once you’ve bought the house, renovating can be an expensive project. Aubrey relies on her DIY skills when it comes to sprucing up the spaces they flip, and says a coat of paint can go a long way.

She also shops clearance items, which are often in the back of the store.

“You’ll see clearance appliances in the back that were just returned, or special orders that people didn’t pick up and they clearance them out up to 50% off,” she says.

If you’re looking for a good time to buy, the Marundes say the holiday season is the best time to take the leap.

“You’re definitely going to get a better deal during the holiday season,” Aubrey says. Fewer homes are on the market and there aren’t as many buyers shopping during that time, which means prices tend to be lower.

If you’re looking to sell, consider putting your home on the market after tax season, when people may have money from a tax refund, and the weather is typically nicer, she says.

See the Marundes in action when “Flip or Flop Vegas” premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on HGTV.

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