Purchasing A Home That Needs Work; What Are The Benefits And How Should You Proceed?

I’ll never forget looking online at homes when we were searching for our current home.  I knew what I wanted but I couldn’t find anything in our price range. I narrowed our search down to a few neighborhoods and I kept a good watch on what was for sale. Frustrating….could we just raise our budget 50 K? LOL, NO! We didn’t want to be house poor.  There was one home that was just a wee bit above our price range, but it was hideous! This home had brown, orange, and black walls with brown carpet EVERYWHERE and no upgrades whatsoever. I actually remember thinking “I feel bad for whoever buys that house!” But then the price kept dropping, and my feeling on the house kept rising.  And then the moment happened….it fell into a short sale. Better yet,  it was in our price range! Suddenly that awful looking home looked amazing!  And you can probably guess what happened next.

Purchasing A Home That Needs Work; What Are The Benefits And How Should You Proceed?

You guessed it, we purchased the “fixer” and couldn’t be more excited about it. Let me backtrack, it wasn’t really a “fixer.” It just needed some cosmetic updating, which leads me to the point of this post. When purchasing a home that needs work, what are the benefits and how should you proceed?

Our “less than desirable” home right after we purchased it.

Purchasing a home that is “less than desirable” can work to your benefit. Of course, renovating or upgrading a property can be costly in itself. But much smaller mortgage might be worth it to you, especially if this is your second home and you can afford to live elsewhere while you upgrade. 

The rest of this post I’m going to try to lay out all the good, bad, and ugly points about upgrading a home.

The Benefits:

The benefits of renovating a property are numerous. They include:

  • Creative Freedom

There’s no doubt that renovating a property with materials you have chosen, designs you have laid out, and adding your own stamp to things is completely superior! Here, you have tangible, real allowance for creative freedom, so long as you adhere to some basic structural design considerations. Would you like to go for that entire glass door panel that brings light into your converted barn? You can. Would you like to install a spiral staircase? You can.

Depending on your property, you might have more creative freedom than you think. If you’re unsure about what you can get away with, be sure to consult a design professional throughout the whole process. 

  • Low Cost

At least initially. Renovating a house is never cheap per se, but the costs can be cut at your own will by choosing premium suppliers sparingly, completing the work yourself when you have time.  

Most of the projects I’ve completed around our home are super budget friendly. I’m a firm believer that it doesn’t have to break the bank to make it beautiful. For more inspiration, check out my home projects page.

  • Stamping Your Personality

Stamping your personality all over your house is important, so long as your family approves. Instead of some pleasant interior design choices, your taste informs the way the building is structured. Do you prefer exposed brick above your fireplace? Here you can achieve that. There are many little design decisions like this just waiting to be found. 

Here is an example of how I transformed this simple boring hallway into a modern farmhouse mudroom for very little cost.

DIY Board and Batten for a modern farmhouse Mudroom

Before the fun begins:

Before you can start to “renovate,” there a couple tasks that need to be taken care of.

  • Tidying/Trash Removal

When you purchase a property that needs to be renovated, chances are that you have a little “clean up” to take care of.  An owner who is selling a property that is marked as ‘needs heavy work and improvement,’ is surely not going to spend their time cleaning up every hall, room and garage the property boasts before he hands you the keys.

However, it’s also important that you don’t take the job of removing all of this trash yourself (if there is a lot to be removed), as this could prove dangerous or time-consuming. It’s best to leave it to the professional, using a trash-removing firm such as Dirt Cheap Rubbish Removal, found here dirtcheaprubbishremoval.com.au. 

  • Safety

It’s important to realize that safety is critical here.  If you aren’t going to hire out a lot of the big work,  you should at the very least commission the services of a father tuned with DIY to help you understand how to stay safe while you renovate the property. This includes deadening any electric circuits before you begin, and make sure that the walls you knock down aren’t supporting the property up in any way. This sounds rudimentary and silly, but when it comes to giving your family a stable, safe and secure home, anything goes.

  • Finishing

This is the fun part. Remember to finish your property to a high standard. This includes plastering the walls with a smooth panache, measuring all door frames adequately, and ensuring anything you want flat is flat with a ‘level’ tool. Then you can begin installing:

  • Electric & Plumbing

If you have zero former experience working as an electrician, a tradesman or are not qualified in working with electrics, then you have no business trying to install this system into your property. The electrical work, in my opinion,  is the most dangerous part of building a home.  If it is shoddily installed, it can not only serve as a shock risk but can increase the fire risk of your property too. Hire. A. Professional.

This also goes for plumbing. Plumbing sounds easy on the surface; it’s just a few pipes leading to the septic tank from the building toilet amenities right? Wrong. A great plumbing solution requires lots of knowledge to ensure that there are no leaks and that those leaks won’t interfere with the functioning of your property.

  • The Results

Most of the time, purchasing a “fixer” is a long process and won’t be completed overnight. If you start slow and are you able to do a lot of the work yourself, in the end you will save tons of money.

What are your thoughts? Would you rather spend more and purchase new or save money in the long run and buy a fixer?


4 thoughts on “Purchasing A Home That Needs Work; What Are The Benefits And How Should You Proceed?

  1. very interesting post. the point about load bearing walls is essential, as well as electrical issues. A friend starting taking down a wall herself without knowing there was live wires in there!

    1. Yikes! I figured this post would be a no brainer for most people, but I’m always surprised at the people that don’t understand understand the danger in some of this!

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