My husband and I are about to tackle our third renovation on a fixer-upper home. To read the post of why we only buy fixer uppers, click here. Did we know how to install floors, paint walls or build custom pieces for a home when we started? No. If you have never tackled a large DIY project, it is possible. Here are a few things we have learned along the way:
Start with a Small Renovation
Start with a smaller project. Our first project in our first home was painting a room. Twelve years later, painting one room is easy, but at the time, it was a lot to learn. I am pretty certain we went through 8 rolls of painters tape and two gallons of paint for a tiny room. If you have never painted, that is a lot of supplies for one room. Room by room, our process improved, and we used fewer supplies. Painting is one of the easiest DIY projects to tackle and probably the cheapest way to change the look of a room. Supplies can cost less than $100 for one room, and many painting supplies can be re-used with proper cleaning.
Stable but Ugly Fixer Upper
If you are planning to renovation on a fixer-upper over time, start with a home that is in a stable and liveable condition. Just because the home has linoleum floors, green tile or hideous wallpaper throughout does not make it unliveable. It is just ugly. If it is your first time with a renovation, avoid buying a home with structural, foundation, water or mold issues.
When it comes to tackling a home, a list is your best friend. Go room to room and make a list of all the desired projects, identify questions for experts and projects that require professionals. Once the list is made, a plan can be formed on when are where to start in the home.
Hire a Good Realtor
A good realtor can offer valuable advice on the after renovation value prior to purchasing a fixer-upper. In addition, an experienced agent may be able to spot home defects that may arise during a home inspection and require expensive repairs.
Look it Up
With the internet, there is a wealth of information, videos and blog tutorials on how to tackle just about any project as a homeowner. For projects that require professional contractors, the internet can offer valuable information to ensure a job is completed properly. Knowledge is always power.
Our local neighborhood websites are excellent for referrals for local contractors. It is easier for us to trust a neighbor than an internet review from someone we have never met.
When we can, we obtain 3 estimates for contracted work. The highest estimate is not always the best vendor and the lowest is not always the worst. We recently had a vendor quote us $1,500 for a couple of hours of work that another vendor billed us for a mere $362. The job was well done, and we are not out more than $1000 just by doing our homework.