There comes a point where every house needs some TLC to ensure it is at its best. But, while many home improvement projects are quick and simple, others are much more demanding. This is most evident for individuals or families who have purchased a run-down property intending to fix it up, whether to sell on or live in.
There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a fixer-upper. It can be a fun – if demanding – project that helps you achieve the home of your dreams. However, before you can call it home, you should consider what goes into repairing the property and whether you are capable of seeing things through to the end.
You already know that time is money, and any fixer-upper is going to demand a lot of time, care, and attention if you want to see this project through to completion. Of course, people don’t have a lot of time. They have work commitments, and parenting demands and they need to find some time to relax and unwind.
Anyone who has ever undertaken a substantial home renovation will tell you that they always take longer than expected, so consider whether you’re able to dedicate more time than you think to transforming your new home and making it a place where you and your family can live comfortably.
The scope of your project will also dictate how long it takes, and you may not understand the full scope until you’ve already purchased the property. You can identify many quick fixes to do around the house, such as changing carpets or replacing doors, but these issues are often the tip of the iceberg.
Many jobs that seem simple are often much more complicated than you expect. Furthermore, you may not be able to do them all by yourself. There could be repairs or renovations that require a full team of people (whether contractors or your friends and family) to ensure a job well done. You may not be able to get the bodies to make this possible.
Planning for existing damage, including structural damage and water damage, can severely hinder your ability to make quick and effective changes and improvements to your home. While these issues should be highlighted before you finalize the purchase, there are problems that inspectors or surveyors might have missed during their time on the property.
And this existing damage can make the house dangerous. There could be severe problems that make it unlivable, meaning you need to spend time elsewhere until the issue is fixed. Unless you have friends or family willing to take you in, this could be a significant expense.
Speaking of expenses, you should get an idea of your budget before agreeing to purchase a fixer-upper. A tight budget is rarely suitable for considerable home improvement. Your budget might be even further strained if you’re unsure about the costs to repair major water damage and ensure your home is safe for you and your family.
When considering your budget, you should always expect to pay more than you think, as this will prepare you for additional problems that may be discovered during the repair process. Even if you have planned to do it all yourself, you may need to hire professionals, which will add further costs to the entire project.
Transforming your house by yourself will attract you to the project, especially if you know your way around a toolbox or simply want to give yourself a challenge. However, while there might be some problems you can fix by yourself, others are beyond your ability and could be dangerous for you to attempt.
This includes working with electricity or gas, while roofing work is also dangerous if you do not have the correct equipment. You might find that you cannot fix some issues yourself without first having other issues fixed, and if these require professionals, it will cause a significant delay that causes your project to fall behind schedule.
If you’re planning on living in the house during the renovation process, you must think about how the ongoing work will interfere with your lifestyle. You may not have running water or your internet connection set up yet, and if you want to shower while working from home, you can see why this would be a problem.
There is also the risk of renovation stress driving a considerable wedge between you and your family. Even if the contractors are there, they might get in the way and make it feel your home isn’t yours yet. The longer the repairs continue, the tenser the situation becomes.
Even planning for every issue might not be enough. There could be more unexpected problems than you thought of, including restrictions from the council, among other factors, that delay or cancel the renovation entirely.
These unexpected problems can come out of nowhere, so read all contracts and permission details carefully. As long as you know that everything you’re doing is okay and approved, you can avoid common pitfalls that throw a wrench in your plans.
After putting so much time, energy, and money into your renovation project you want it to be worth it. However, if things take longer than expected or further problems occur just when you think everything is going smoothly, it might make you feel like the project is never going to end, and even if it does, it won’t be worth everything you have put into it.
This is a risk that everyone takes when beginning a fixer-upper project. While there is nothing to worry about most of the time, and you can enjoy the home you’ve always wanted, there will be a nagging voice that it was all for nothing.
If you fancy yourself as a handy person looking for an exciting brand new project, it makes sense that a fixer-upper grabs your attention. But, you shouldn’t solely think of the result. If you want to ensure success and not get in over your head, you must think about the entire process and whether it will be financially and emotionally beneficial for you and your family.