Top Budget-Friendly Home Projects to Tackle on Your Fixer-Upper
Renovating on a budget? Here are the best projects for your home and bank account.
Most people who buy fixer-upper homes do it because they can’t afford one that is ready to go. This makes sense, but also presents a conundrum when it comes to living in a home that needs work. Which projects should take priority when your budget is already tight?
Here are some projects that make the most sense right away, in addition to a few that deliver a huge bang for your buck.
Before you start, it is absolutely imperative that you go through and figure out the work that needs to be done for safety reasons, and to ward off issues that will grow into a bigger expense in the future. The most efficient way to do this is to hire a pro to assess the property and help you come up with a plan.
Figure out the areas that need work and make a priority list. Once that’s done, it’s simply a matter of working through the list. Be thorough — the entire home should be inspected, including plumbing, electrical and the roof. While some of the initial work needed won’t be cosmetic, it will make the home safe and give you peace of mind.
The expert you hire to help identify and prioritize potential issues with your home can also help you estimate the cost of the repairs so you can weigh that into your decision making when picking what projects to handle first. Repairs done for safety reasons may be among the most costly, but it’s important to remember that they are absolutely vital to the success of other projects to come.
New Coat of Paint
When the safety issues in your fixer-upper have been addressed, you can then pivot to the renovations and upgrades on your list that are more aesthetic in nature. Applying a fresh coat of paint throughout the home may seem simple, but can go a long way without you having to make a large financial investment. In addition to giving your home a new look, fresh paint reinforces the feeling of having a clean slate to work with — a blank canvas. The best part? Depending on the scale of your project, new paint can run as little as $50. You can do it yourself and it makes a significant change.
Redo the Flooring
New flooring is another option that makes a big splash right away. At approximately $5 per square foot, luxury vinyl plank flooring is a great budget-friendly choice. It’s water-resistant, so can be used in bathrooms, and brings the appearance of real wood at a fraction of the cost.
While it’s true that installing new flooring early on will give a fixer-upper an instant visual boost, it may also be a smart move logistically. After you’ve moved all your belongings into a home, it’s much more difficult to install new flooring. Another plus? The color you pick for flooring will help direct other future home upgrades.
New windows may be a little expensive to take on right away, but are an upgrade well worth the investment in the long run, as the windows will pay for themself over time through energy savings. Old or damaged windows often have leaks, which can result in your HVAC system or furnace having to work harder, and ultimately higher utility bills. In addition to the monetary savings and increased energy efficiency, an added benefit of new windows is simply having a more comfortable home to enjoy during the hot summer and cold winter months.
Ceiling & Drywall Repairs
Due to logistics, another home renovation to think about early on is dealing with significant drywall and ceiling repairs. This includes tearing out popcorn ceilings or moving walls. These types of projects are best done before moving into the home because they are so messy.
Investing in a fixer-upper is a viable way to own a home for those with financial restrictions, but is also an enormous undertaking — one that can be as pleasurable as it is rewarding, especially if your plans are to live in the home rather than sell it. Regardless, you’ll need to have a complete understanding of the work required before jumping into any renovations. Any errors or miscalculations can be expensive, which really hurts when your budget is tight. Taking on a fixer-upper means you must make sound choices.
A key concept for homeowners to know when renovating a fixer-upper is making certain that they are actually fixing the right thing. For example, a common mistake is choosing to replace uneven floors. Rather than investing in all new floors, which won’t fix the problem, the focus should be on fixing the foundation of the home. Be sure you’re getting to the root of home problems so that the issues are truly resolved.