Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Don't Let Your Fixer-Upper Become A DIY Disaster

Perhaps it made the home affordable. Perhaps you love the classic nature of the house. Perhaps you just love a challenge. For whatever reason, if you’re looking at a home that’s definitely going to become a personal project, you have to be prepared. Tackling a fixer-upper without an organized approach or realistic expectations of what it’s going to take is going to turn your potential dream home into a nightmare. Here, we’re going to look at how you get at least a little more prepared so you’re not caught off guard by the challenge ahead.

Check the foundation first

This is something you absolutely must do before you agree on the price of a home. There are few parts of the house as important as the foundation. You might be used to seeing plenty of decay and damage that you plan on repairing and replacing, but here it can be a much bigger cause for concern. However, not all foundation cracks are the end of the world. In a lot of cases, it’s only large cracks that indicate some kind of foundational trouble that can make the home more damaged than it’s worth. Epoxy injection kits can be enough to fix smaller cracks, but the larger ones might need drainage pipes, gravel, a sump pit and more to fix the forces that are acting on it to cause the damage in the first place. It’s not impossible to fix, but it’s mandatory to ascertain if you have the budget to do it beforehand.
Know the permit situation before you buy

In a lot of cases, you might decide that you want to go with a fixer-upper because it involves restoring and living in a classic home that exudes a timeless class. However, if the home is truly historic, then that might mean it comes with a few complications you’re not quite expecting. For historic houses, design and permit processes involved in making the necessary fixes might be a lot longer and lot more expensive. Meaning that you might have to work on it for some time before it becomes livable.

Start with a list of priorities

Before you get in, make sure that you check all the fundamentals besides the foundations, too. This includes plumbing, electrical, insulation and leaks, the roof, heating, windows, and doors. From each of those, create your top priority list of tasks. From there, you should calculate a budget of what it’s going to take to fix it. These tasks need to go on the to-do list before you begin work because you can’t expect to live in a home without fixing those first. From there, every time you identify a smaller problem, add it to the list. That way, you don’t have to distract yourself from a major job to make a quick fix, you can simply manage your time to make sure you get around them all in good time.
Build a toolbox

Part of that budget is going to go towards making sure that you’re well equipped enough to handle every task involved. There are plenty of guides on building a toolbox, but make sure that you’re only buying tools that you’re going to need. There are a few essentials, such as a couple sets of screwdrivers, a selection of wrenches and a hacksaw. But the specifics beyond that should depend not only on what tasks you plan on carrying out but how many of them you plan on carrying out by yourself.

Know when you need a little help

You need to know when it’s time to call a friend because as much as you want to make this project your own, you want it to actually be done and done well. For instance, unless it’s a very minor fix, you shouldn’t try to alter or make big fixes to the utilities such as the electrics or waterworks of the building by yourself. Without experienced plumbing services, you’re liable not only to fail to fix the error yourself. You’re also liable to cause damage that could end up proving a flooding risk to the home. So, it’s best to play it safe when facing a certain task that you’re not certain you’re equipped to take on. Your job here isn’t to give yourself more to fix, after all.
Keep climate in mind

A home isn’t complete when you fixed the structure and got the utilities working. A lot of people neglect to fully consider, for instance, the climate that the home is in. If you don’t want all your work undone by leaks or by storm damage, make sure that you prepare it for the weather as well. This might mean taking the time to seal the outdoors extensively. It definitely means that you should pay attention to the roof if you haven’t already. All it takes is one missing tile for your home to be at severe risk of inviting damp in from above.

When to incorporate and when to replace

When the essentials of the home are taken care of, then you might start thinking more about the décor and design of the home. However, you might save yourself a lot of money and a lot of effort by choosing to simply leave old fixtures alone or even improve them with a lick of paint rather than trying to replace them. Not only will it make the job easier to complete, but it will also give your home a certain unique style that you might otherwise erase. Be a little more willing to let your home inherit some of the design choices and even the anachronistic oddities that it originally came with. You might grow to love them. If not, it’s another project for the future.
It’s a lot of work, in case this post hasn’t already made that clear. But to those who finish their fixer-upper, there are a few things more worth it. You will not only have a home worth living in, but your efforts and investment will exude from every inch of it.

xoxo,
Therese
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