My little sister currently lives in a GORGEOUS 100 year old home in St. Louis. They bought for about $80K and over the past year have put blood, sweat, tears and an additional $20K into it and it is just awesome.
When my parents were first married they bought a crappy little house on Bryan Avenue in Salt Lake. By the time they started getting really bothered by the fighting neighbors and the sketchy transients they'd totally renovated the place.
My grandparents...well...they've never owned a house to which they didn't build a beautiful addition.
My aunt and uncle on my mom's side bought an investment property in the city where their kids went to college and significantly upgraded the place during the 3 years their kids needed housing.
On my dad's side I have an aunt and uncle who were professional flippers for about 5 years.
I tell you all this so you realize the type of background I come from. When buying a house this background has led me to really want to get a house that I can improve. A house that I can gain some sweat equity. I see no reason to pay for upgrades that someone else made that aren't really my taste or style.
But I also realize there are some limits to what I can and should do.
We found a bank owned property in which I see serious potential. We've driven up, peaked in windows, circled the property and spoken to the neighbors. It's in a perfect neighborhood and listed FAR under the going price. But it also probably needs some serious repair work...probably a total overhaul.
So my question for you is this: how much is too much? When does a diamond in the rough/great investment become a scary money pit/bane of your existence?