Many homeowners buy a home – often their first – with the intent to renovate it to make it their own. They may purchase a home in the location of their dreams, but the home isn’t quite what they had in mind. Or, they look for a structurally sound home and can see the vision of their dream home. Renovating that “fixer upper” is one way to buy a less expensive home and then spread payments out for renovations as you work through them over time. If you’re considering fixing up, keep these tips in mind:
- Be realistic when you have a dream wish list. Narrow your ideas down to those you can really do from a financial standpoint and a design standpoint.
- Be willing to do projects in phases. Sometimes you might not be able to finance an entire new wing for your home, but you might be able to start with a family room addition or a kitchen upgrade, then do something more in a year or two.
- Know where the best place is for your money. Live in the home and be present for a period of time before deciding what’s most important to remodel. For example, you may think you can live with a carport instead of a garage, but after a year of your belongings being on display and your car being cold and icy in the winter time, you realize you want a garage. You don’t know this until you live in the home for a while.
- Take your time in designing the renovation. Take your lifestyle into consideration and tell the designer and the builder your goals for the space.
- Find a good general contractor. Choose someone who can also see your vision and who will work with you to stay within your budget. Think about involving the contractor even before you purchase the home – he can give you an honest evaluation of what can and can’t be done, and help you determine your potential expenses.