Tips for Taking on a Fixer-Upper
We all love a rags-to-riches story. It’s why movies like Cinderella and Slumdog Millionaire capture our imagination. Because of that, it can seem almost heroic to take on a fixer-upper house. Like a mentor in a rags-to-riches story, we see the house’s potential to become something amazing.
But you have to temper your fixer-upper fantasies with reality if you want the project to be a success. Our tips for taking on a fixer-upper will help you do just that.
Fixer-uppers can be deceptive when it comes to cost. In our minds, we’re saving money by paying less for the house and more for the renovations. But depending on the renovation, you can end up with a much higher price than you expected. Does the house need new paint or new pipes? Are you removing wallpaper or an entire wall? Be reasonable about what you have time and money for before signing the contract.
DIY What You Can (and ONLY What You Can)
An easy way to cut costs is to handle jobs yourself. Focus on the tasks that are high-labor and low-skill. Even if you have limited experience, you can repair cracked paint on the walls and apply new paint. Get friends and family members in on the fun to get tasks done more quickly.
However, it’s going to cost you significantly more time, money, and hours of sleep if you do a big task wrong than it will to hire someone to do it right the first time. Unless you have previous experience, hire a contractor if you need pipes, wiring, or any foundational work done. This is especially critical if you’re doing work on an older house.
Keep up Communication
Even if you’re able to DIY most of your fixer-upper, you probably won’t be doing the entire project yourself. Whether you’re working with a contractor, spouse, or your cousin Jerry, communication is crucial for every stage of the project. If you have an electrician coming in to install lighting while you’re at work, they need to know if they shouldn’t walk across the floor that you just finished installing.
It’s not exactly easy, but taking on a fixer-upper is worth it. As long as you stay practical and keep first things first, you can transform your fixer-upper from rags to riches.