Before I dive into DIYs, furnishings and all things home decor, I want to start off by talking about the buying process and what you want in a house when looking for YOUR fixer upper. While everyone usually has a laundry list of things they want in their house, even their fixer upper, the first and most IMPORTANT thing is good bones. The budget will help dictate the rest of the project, like how much of a fixer upper you can actually afford, but whether you are working with a budget of $10,000, $200,000 or more, the house needs to have good bones.
There are a few options when buying a fixer upper and how you want to go about fixing it up. You can buy the house and plan to fix the house over a period of time, generally these houses don’t need that much work, or nothing that NEEDS to be done right away. The second option is you can plan to do all of the work prior to moving in, which, unless you are a contractor yourself, usually requires several bids and a great construction crew.
Both options have their pros and cons. While the first option can take a while, it can get you in a house faster and tends to be more cost effective. The second option can keep you waiting to move in, either in the home you currently live in (if you are able to afford two mortgages) or you may need to relocate during the scope of the work. However, once the work is done- it’s done!
We have done both with two different homes so far and we have enjoyed both experiences equally. Our first renovation was a townhouse, pretty much down the street from where we are now (no, I don’t venture very far), and it took us five years to get the work done that we wanted to do. In all honesty, we didn’t really feel like we were 100% done with the house when we left, but it was just time for us to move on. This current house was pretty much what you expect to see on an episode of fixer upper or flip or flop, minus Chip Gaines eating bugs or Tarek el Mousa getting all stressed out about the continual growth to the all in budget. While we did certainly encounter some added costs associated with this project, we did a pretty good job making sure the bones of the house were worth the investment on our family, just like we did five years prior when we bought our town house down the street.
While both homes were completely different in style, and plans for how we planned on completing these projects for the homes were completely different, even the type of work that needed to be done on these homes were extremely different, the bottom line that allowed us to go in and make these changes within our budget, is the great bones that both of these homes offered us.
As long as you know the main foundation of the home is rock solid, you are good to go. Now, I have never walked into a home, looked at the paint and thought “oh my, I can’t buy this house, the paint colors are all wrong and this is going to be so much work.” So, if you are someone who thinks painting a house is work, you might want to stop right here. Lol. Anytime I have ever walked into a home with the intention to buy it, the house could be painted in lime green for all I care, I will see right passed that because I will be painting every single wall in every single part of the house ( if I’m even keeping the walls). It’s just something I personally feel like I always need to do to make a house my own.
Anyway, in our last house, no walls needed to be knocked down, no rooms needed to be added or moved (that really just sounds so extra when I write that down), but it did need new flooring pretty much everywhere. It had mirrored walls, it had some dainty floral black splash in the kitchen, paired with some really precious pink countertops and dark oak cabinets. We did some diy specials and fixed the kitchen up, replaced the floors, and little by little over five years made the townhouse look like a completely different house than when we bought it. It felt good when we walked away.
Now here we are again. Different house, different method this time since all our major work was done up front, but still a pretty awesome experience, just sped up a heck of a lot more. Neither option is right or wrong, and both have been equally rewarding. I’m definitely going to share more about our old house with you all because we did some pretty awesome DIYs and projects there. But, I’m looking forward to keeping up with the continual changes within this new house and sharing them with you as we go along.