If you have recently purchased a fixer-upper only to pick up the keys and walk through the door to be greeted with untold mess, dirt, damp and mold, you may wonder what on Earth you were thinking. However, there is method to your madness. You selected this humble abode for its investment potential, its ability to be your dream home and the challenge it presented to get it ship-shape. You’re excited by the prospect of getting stuck in and turning your hand to a little bit of project management. You also understand the pitfalls that lie ahead and don’t want your potential dream pad to turn into a money drain. Take a look at these fixer-upper faux pas to avoid.
Before you do anything to your new home, get a surveyor or builder in to assess the safety of the dwelling. If there are any issues with unstable joists, foundations or the roof, get them secure immediately. By doing this early on, you know that with a hard hat and some sturdy boots, you can venture into the property without being unsafe. You also want to get the building structurally sound quickly so any ground movement or subsidence can be rectified before it gets worse.
You’d be surprised just how many people want to get their hands dirty straight away. They hire a skip, clear the living room and start decorating without thinking about the damp, junk and clutter in the other rooms of the house. Imagine having the most gorgeous show home lounge, only to have to then drag through untold amounts of waste when clearing the other rooms. Make sure every room is clear before you even think about renovating.
You need to draw up a plan for each room, and it’s vital that you budget for every expense. Before you know it, you could have spent thousands creating the perfect home only for you to realize that you have no equity in the property. Find out the ceiling price in your vicinity and spend a total of 10 percent less.
Get It Secure
Old fixer-uppers are magnets for squatters and disenfranchised youth who have nothing to do. If the property you have bought has been empty for some time, you don’t know who may have trespassed or entered the home prior to you. The moment you get the keys, get on the phone to a security system installer and put up an alarm that will act as a deterrent for even the most determined squatter. You need to have peace of mind when you’re away from the property, and a flashing pair of lights emitting from a little box on the front of the house is the best facilitator of this.
It will be a challenge, and it will inevitably cause stress, but fixing up a property and transforming it into your dream home can be one of the most worthwhile experiences you ever undertake. You purchased this patch of bricks and mortar because you could see its potential; now it’s time to realize it.
Photo by Brina Blum
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