Renovation Revelations: Could You Handle A Doer-Upper?

There’s a growing trend in real estate, which may take your fancy if you’re keen to make your mark and create your perfect home. Taking on a doer-upper is something more and more people are choosing to do. There’s a lot of hard work involved, but this can be a great option for those who can’t afford a home in pristine condition, as well as those who struggle to find a property on the market that matches their vision of the dream home. If you’re considering buying a doer-upper, here are some essential questions to ask and some tips to help you make your project a success.

How much does a renovation project cost?

The trouble with budgeting for a renovation project is that every individual proposal is different. Trying to find a definitive answer to this question is like trying to respond to the question ‘how long is a piece of string?’ The one thing that is universally important is determining how much the project will cost before you think about making an offer. The actual purchase price may be well within your budget, but once you take into consideration the build costs, fees, and taxes, you may find that it goes far beyond your maximum limit.

If you are toying with the idea of taking on a fixer-upper, it’s essential to do a lot of research before you make any decisions. You’ll need to get quotes for every aspect of the job, and don’t forget to factor in additional fees. It pays to get the groundwork covered in the very early stages so that you don’t get any unexpected or unwanted surprises down the line. Arrange for some building firms to visit the site and get some quotes. You need to compare prices and choose a company that gives you confidence, so don’t just go with the first quote. Building work may not be the only outgoing, and if you’re building a home that needs a lot of TLC, you’re likely to be spending money on soft strip demolition, rewiring, a new heating system and windows and doors, as well as any interior design work you undertake. If you’re weighing up buying an old house against a new house, make sure you do your homework, and you have all these costs written down before you decide. It’s important to have the figures nailed down so that you can make a balanced, well-informed decision.

What does the project actually involve?

When you see TV makeover shows, the process of renovating a home may seem relatively simple. However, this is largely because these programs usually employ a vast team of experts to get results in a very short space of time. In reality, you may not have the budget to do this, and it may take a lot longer and involve a lot more work than you anticipated. Before you commit to buying a property that needs a lot of work, make sure you’re aware of what needs doing and how long it will take, as well as how much it is going to cost. You’ll need to liaise with experts to determine what you need to do to turn a vision or some plans on paper into reality. Once you have a list of jobs, you can work out a rough time frame, and you can start budgeting.

Is there potential?

Under the umbrella term ‘doer-upper’, there are many sub-sections. The condition of the property, the kind of work that it needs, and the location will all affect its potential. Before you buy, make sure you’re looking at something that offers potential. You don’t want to plough all your savings into a project that will never make you money or a property that won’t give you what you want or need.

Are you ready for the highs and the lows?

It’s easy to have a rose-tinted vision of home renovation. On the TV, the couple or family ends up with their dream home, and everyone is all smiles. In real life, doing up a fixer-upper can be something of a rollercoaster ride. There will be highs and lows, and it’s essential to have realistic expectations before you climb aboard. There may be weeks when the site seems to be progressing at rapid speed, but there are also likely to be times when you get frustrated by slow progress or bumps in the road. Before you sign on the dotted line, ask yourself if you’re ready to ride the gauntlet.

Have you got a plan B?

You may be lucky and sail through the renovation process without coming across any obstacles, but what happens if the build is delayed or you encounter problems, which prove costly? It’s always a good idea to have a plan B, just in case plan A doesn’t work out.

Your budget should be a priority throughout, and it’s wise to have a contingency fund. If you’ve catered for hurdles that pop up out of the blue, you’ll be able to get back on track faster. If you haven’t got the money to cover unexpected costs and you have no plans in place, your project may hit the rafters.

If you’re currently renting or living in a home that you plan to sell, think about what you’re going to do if you have to move before your new home is complete. Is there somewhere you could stay in the meantime? Do you need to investigate extending your rental contract or finding another home to rent on a short-term lease? Or could you move into part of the new home and carry out work while you’re on site? If the kitchen, bathroom, and some of the bedrooms are finished, for example, the rest of the work can carry on after you’ve moved in. If not, it may be possible to explore options like living in a caravan on-site for a short period of time.

Renovation Tips

If you’re buying a new home, you want it to be perfect. Many people choose to buy a fixer-upper so that they can create a bespoke home. If you want to make your project a success, take these top tips on board.

Planning ahead

It is impossible to underestimate the importance of planning ahead when you’re overhauling a property, and you have grand plans. By the time you sign a contract, you should be aware of exactly how much the build is going to cost, how much the new home should be worth, how long the project is going to take, and exactly what it entails. If you can’t provide specific details and figures related to these questions, don’t sign on the dotted line just yet. You can’t ever do too much research or planning in a situation like this. It’s better to be prepared and wait a little while to get the deal wrapped up than to charge in and regret it later in the day.

Adding value

Even if you’re not particularly bothered about money, and you just want to live in the home of your dreams, it’s wise to plan a profitable renovation. When you buy a house, you’re making an investment, and you want this investment to grow over the course of time. You don’t have to do everything at once, but having one foot in the future will almost certainly pay off.

Getting involved

Even if you have contractors and site managers involved with the renovation, it’s advisable to keep tabs on what’s going on and to ensure that you retain a presence on-site. If you’re there, you’re involved, and you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you can check that everything is going to plan, and hopefully, help things move along at the desired pace.

Adding a personal touch

There’s no point in going through the motions of revamping a tired old home if you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to add a personal touch and create a home that matches your impression of the ideal property. You have control of the design, so use your style and imagination to create a building the reflects you, your family life, and your lifestyle. You want to walk through the door and feel like you’re at home, rather than in a show home.

Are you thinking about buying a doer-upper? Does the idea of rejuvenating and reviving an old house appeal to you or are you struggling to find the perfect home on the open market? Taking on a fixer-upper is some people’s idea of fun, but it is a very long and hard process. It can provide you with incredible rewards, but it’s so important to get it right. Plan ahead, make sure you have your finances in order and ensure that you know exactly how much the entire project is going to cost before you even consider making an offer. It’s imperative that you plan every stage meticulously, and that you understand what is involved, and how long you’ll have to wait to live out your dreams. Good luck!

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