Where to Begin With a Fixer Upper

An abandoned house with a dead lawn.

Whether you're buying your first home to live in and rejuvenate or you have plans to make changes and quickly sell it, there are many ways that you can turn your fixer upper into an impressive piece of real estate. However, deciding on buying one of these types of homes is not easy. There are plenty of aspects to consider with the main one being finances—a fixer upper project can become costly and time-consuming. If you are taking on a renovation project like this, begin with these simple tips.

Check Behind Your Walls

Before you start any work on the walls or floors, it’s a good idea to have a professional come in to check the electrical, plumbing, insulation, heating and cooling systems in the house. Make sure that the person evaluating your house is a certified professional with the documentation to prove it. If your service provider gives you the go-ahead that all of these systems are in good shape, you can continue on with the walls. However, if there are outdated electrical wires or there is insulation that is not up to current standards, have the necessary repair work done.

By leaving these problems until later, you may end up paying much more for the fixes than you bargained for. If you are not experienced in electrical or plumbing work, be sure to have a certified professional do the work for you. It may cost a little more in the beginning, but you’ll save money in repairs over time.

Refresh the Wall Surface

With the electrical, plumbing and insulation finished, it’s time to move on to the wall surface. A fresh coat of paint can turn worn out old walls into a stunning canvas for art and décor accessories. If you plan on quickly reselling your place, it might be best to choose paint products with neutral hues. However, if your dream is to stay in your new home for some time, you can consider vibrant wall colors that reflect your own sense of style.

You can choose to paint all of the walls in one room the same hue or create an accent wall using a brilliant complementary color to the room. If the walls are old and uneven, be sure to stay away from gloss paint products which will only highlight every imperfection. If the texture is a real isue, stick to matte paint which works wonders to hide small bumps on the wall surface.

Fine-tune the Floors

Once you've completed your wall work, take a look at the flooring and determine how much work they need. Many times there is a beautiful floor hiding under carpeting or linoleum. Pull back the flooring in the corner of room and take a peek to see what’s below it. If there are hardwood floors beneath, it’s a good idea to pull up everything and work with the old flooring. Hardwood can be easily sanded and re-stained with a small amount of effort and cost. If there is nothing below the old floors, remove them and choose a flooring option that will work best for your situation and budget.

Focus on Detailing

With the walls and floors updated, you can decide on the decor and style you want to incorporate into your space. Check out all of the outlet covers and replace any that are worn or cracked. If your home is heated with a forced air furnace, check out the air registers as well. Look for window coverings and rugs that fit your design plan.

Be sure to measure your windows and floor space before you go out looking for these items. Use a measuring tape to determine the exact measurements for each of the windows along with the floor area you want to cover. Either write the measurements down on a note pad or better yet, type them into your smart phone. You will need these dimensions when it comes time to make your purchases.

Update Your Curb Appeal

When you've completed all of the interior work on your fixer upper, take a look at the exterior space. You’ll need to take a look from several perspectives. First get a notepad and take a short walk to the road, to see what might be needed to create an updated exterior design. Either write down your ideas, or do a small drawing that illustrates your plans. Next, move closer to your home, and see where you might need to make some repairs.

Check the gutters and downspouts as well as the roof top. While you might not be ready to have a whole new roof installed, you may see spots that need immediate repair work. Clean up the garden space and walkways. If there isn’t a lot of room for greenery, consider creating a larger garden area where you can add some brilliant flowers and thick green plants.