Excerpts from the article published B Vintage Style
Over the years, we have learned so many lessons, some the hard way, about what’s involved in taking on a fixer upper project! I have complied tips for taking on a fixer upper. I hope these tips help some of you along your renovation journeys.
- Set a budget, giving yourself a big buffer!Setting a budget will help you stay on track no matter what but on any renovation, the risk of going over the budget is high! Buying foreclosed properties at wholesale prices may offer a great way to maximize what you can do within your repair’s budget.
- Set a schedule. Be realistic. A schedule is always a good idea in any project but know that most jobs will take longer than you think, especially if you are counting out outside trades to finish it for you.
- Be ready for surprises. Now like I mentioned before, having a proper home inspection done should help to prevent any surprises but be ready because they will happen. In our first home we started taking off the wall paper and the drywall underneath literally came crumbling off with it. After we took down the rest of the drywall, we found the master bedroom’s light fixture was hooked up with nothing more than an orange extension cord and the outside walls of the home had newspaper for insulation! Make sure you are ready for these types of situations in older homes. Budget for them!
- Think outside of the box. When you are updating an existing home, unless you have a budget that is through the roof and can move walls etc., you may need to think of all options for your flooring plan. Maybe the current pantry becomes a laundry room for instance, or the closet becomes a bathroom. The home we are currently in had the laundry off the kitchen at the bottom of the back staircase. We ended up moving the laundry upstairs and making the space off the kitchen into a pantry/office area. It is now a much more practical and usable space.
- Make it right. One thing I have come across time and again when renovating is shoddy, slap together, patch jobs! I have seen everything from Duck-tape holding up the shower insert, staples used to put up wallpaper and even floor linoleum under the shingles on the roof instead of proper underlay! Do your research! Find out what products are the best out there and don’t try and save a buck by using something else. You will only cause yourself more headache down the road. If you can’t do the job right, make sure you have enough in your budget to hire someone.
- Know when to hire a pro. Be realistic about your abilities. There are some projects that make it worthwhile to bring in a contractor. It will save you time and effort and will certainly be well worth the money. This past year we did hire out a team of carpenters to properly frame out the inside of the attic. This was a huge job and one that would either make or break the entire rest of the project. The money we spend was well worth the time we saved, and the job was done right! Also make sure to always use a licensed and insured plumber and electrician as messing up those aspects can ruin a project.
- Prepare to take the good with the bad. One of the things I have had to come to grips with living in our current home is I am not going to have all the bells and whistles of a new build. But I did get the character I love in our home that I wouldn’t have gotten in a new built. I am okay with not having a master suite because I have a gorgeous bay window with original hardwood floors instead. Sometimes you will just have to be satisfied with the space and make it work as it is!
I hope you enjoyed these tips for taking on a fixer upper. The journey through fixer upper projects is such a mix of blood, sweat and tears but SO MUCH FUN along the way!