If you’re looking to jump into home ownership with a fixer-upper, there are a few things you need to know before you buy. 

When you take on a home remodel, you enter into a season filled with decision making, unexpected delays, and constant budget adjustments. It can quickly become overwhelming.

As home renovation experts, we’re here to offer some tips to help ensure your project goes as smoothly as possible. Whether you DIY your renovation or hire out to a contractor, the following are important factors to consider.

Determine Your Goal for the Home — How Long Will You Live There?

Before you start house hunting, it’s important to know your end goal. Do you see this purchase as your home for the foreseeable future or as an investment that you’ll sell or rent out?

Your goal for your home purchase will determine your focus for repairs:

  • If it’s going to end up being an investment property, you’ll want to choose features, colors, hardware, and so on that will appeal to a wide range of potential buyers or renters.
  • But if it’s going to be your home for several years, you can make more personalized choices.

Decide the Scope of Renovations You’re Willing To Take On

Determine the scope of home remodeling projects you are comfortable with.

The type of renovations you are able to do will depend on your skill level, availability, and budget. Some issues involve more work and expense than others: cosmetic projects like painting or pulling up carpet are easier, less costly projects than more serious issues like foundation repair or a complete kitchen remodel. 

If you have the funds to hire a contractor to do the renovation, you’ll be able to do much more involved repairs than if you DIY it. 

The amount of maintenance the previous homeowner has done is also a factor here. Always have an inspection done before you buy to determine what issues need to be addressed so you can plan your renovation accordingly.

Set a Range for Your Budget and Research Financing Options

Be realistic about how much money you’ll need for renovations after you’ve paid the down payment and closing costs for your home. Make sure your budget includes costs for things like alternative housing (if you’re unable to stay in your home while it’s being remodeled) and utilities used during renovation. 

It’s the nature of home renovations that things often end up costing more than you think they will. Always plan for budget overages, including at least a 10-percent cushion for unexpected expenses that come up.

In addition, take the time to research your options for financing both the home purchase itself and the cost of renovations. 

Generally speaking, if the home you’re buying is in good condition and needs only cosmetic changes, you can usually qualify for a conventional loan. But if there are major repairs or structural issues, you’ll likely need a renovation loan. 

Develop a relationship with a lender early on in your home search so you can go to them as a resource when financial questions arise.

Expect Delays

Whether you DIY your project or hire a contractor, renovations almost always take longer than you think they will — so don’t be surprised if you run into roadblocks.

Lumber shortages and other supply chain issues are especially challenging right now. And labor shortages can complicate things even further. Ultimately, shortages in materials and labor can mean long waits (not to mention higher costs).

Other aspects of the renovation process can cause delays as well, including getting the proper building permits and working through financing issues that arise.

As you create your game plan for your home renovation, always plan for delays and make sure you have alternate living arrangements in case those delays push back your move-in date.

Hire a Reputable Contractor

If you choose to hire a contractor, make sure to choose one with a great reputation for both the work they do and the customer service they provide. After all, they’ll be your partner in renovating your home, and — depending on the scope of your project — could be a part of your life for several weeks or even months.

This means that the lowest-bidding contractor isn’t necessarily your best choice. In fact, if their lower rates correspond with less experience and knowledge, they could end up causing more issues than they fix…and costing you more money in the long run.

References from friends, family, or your real estate agent are a great way to find a professional contractor. It’s also a good idea to look at the company’s Better Business Bureau profile and online reviews to get an idea of their reputation in the field.

Outdoor Solutions Is Your Home Renovation Specialist

If you’re buying a fixer-upper that requires projects that are more than you want to tackle on your own, Outdoor Solutions can help.

Want to remodel that kitchen that’s in desperate need of new cabinets, countertops, and floors? Turn that porch into a four-season room? Or create an entertainment area in the basement, complete with a theater room and wet bar? Whatever your project, Outdoor Solutions is licensed and qualified to handle your home renovations.

Outdoor Solutions can help turn your fixer-upper into the home you’ve been dreaming of. Contact us to start planning your project today!