Purchasing a home in need of renovations can be a worthwhile investment - assuming you have time and a plan.

Perhaps nothing is more vital to the decision-making process when considering buying a "fixer-upper" than a home inspection. This helps you not only determine the current state of the premises, but also provides you with a thorough evaluation of a property's integrity, its systems and easements, and the extent to which its renovations are structural, as opposed to cosmetic. All of these factors are essential to you devising the plan, from gauging how long it will take to make all the necessary changes to how significantly the viability of the investment could change during the renovation process.

Here are a few other considerations to weigh before, during and after the home inspection as you decide how to - or whether you should - approach the purchase of a fixer-upper.

What can you do yourself?

Ideally, most of the necessary renovations are cosmetic. These may include new paint jobs in various rooms within the house or on sections of its facade. Perhaps wallpaper needs to be stripped, lighting needs to be replaced or carpet and tiling needs to be removed or replaced. If you can handle any of these projects on your own or with the help of a few friends or family members, it will greatly lessen the impact on your bottom line. Additionally, a newly renovated bathroom or kitchen will only enhance the property's value going forward, which is ultimately the point of the entire undertaking. The more you can gain without spending too much upfront, the greater the eventual return on your investment is likely to be.

Do your contracting research

If it turns out that some projects are too broad or intricate for you to handle, you'll have to enlist the services of professionals. That likely means paying more, so hiring a reputable and trustworthy contractor or group of skilled workers - and then monitoring their progress - is important to adhering to your budget. If you are hiring people to handle more expensive projects, such as replacing an air conditioning or heating system, installing new insulation, re-paving a driveway or dismantling your roof, you want to ensure that things stay on track. The last thing you need is for the timeline to be extended, or worse, the issue to be insufficiently addressed, forcing you to go back and pay for more work.

Know what you're looking for

As with hiring professionals for each specific project, it's crucial that you also find an experienced and properly certified home inspector who can identify the issues present in a given property. Failing to do so could result in receiving inadequate or inaccurate information that might cause you to purchase a property that requires more work than originally believed, or perhaps more regrettably, pass on a potentially profitable investment because the issues identified were overestimated.

Different kinds of inspections - and different types of inspectors - can identify separate issues. Depending on what you already know about a property, maybe you want to focus on mold inspections, or perhaps you can negotiate with the seller of the home to help pay for a roof certification or inspections of the sewer system or a potential infestation issue. Whatever the desired route, the more clarity you have regarding your own goals and priorities, the less likely you are to waste your own - or anyone else's - time or money.