Staying Sane While Fixing Your Fixer Upper


May, 2018

You fell in love with that ugly, beaten down fixer upper on the corner of your favorite neighborhood. With a little TLC, you’re sure this house will become your dream home. After negotiating prices, accepting the proper loans, and hiring the right professionals to help guide you through the journey, you’re ready to delve into the hard work that will transform this property. So, you own this house, now what?

Step One: Become an expert

Chances are you may know a thing or two about home renovations, but you’re not quite proficient in every way you need to be. You should consult experts for any project you’re not comfortable with, as it’s important to not take risks when it comes to safety and results. Things like electrical work, foundation repair, and plumbing issues should be left to professionals. That being said, you shouldn’t take a back seat when it comes to fixing up this home. Make sure you educate yourself on the best flooring for your kitchen versus the living room, the best roof for your home, and any necessary permits for your project. It’s important to become as much of an expert as you can in as many different fields as possible, which means doing lots of research and getting multiple opinions (not everything you read online is true, you know). That way, instead of taking a back seat to the remodeling of your home, you can effectively communicate alongside any contractors you’ve brought along for the ride.

Step Two: Set a budget and break it (sorta)

It’s important to set a clear budget before beginning a major project like remodeling an entire home (duh, we know). However, experts say that it’s important to prepare for a 10 to 20 percent buffer in your budget. Essentially, set a clear path for what you plan to spend on every room of the house from ceilings to floors, including wall art, furniture, rugs, and all other aesthetic pieces, and prepare to expand a little beyond that budget. Make sure to allocate costs ahead of time rather than purchasing material as you get funds during the project; otherwise, you may find yourself far beyond the buffer zone you set in place. If there’s a chance you’ll spend beyond your buffer zone, consider removing one or two of the aesthetic pieces of the room (that expensive light fixture or fancy wall decal) and revisit it in the future after the home has been finished. The most important part of a fixer upper is getting the home structurally sound – the rest can wait.

Step Three: Establish a timeline, not a schedule

There is no right timeline for a fixer upper. Depending on the housing type (apartment versus house), level of deterioration (a little gross versus complete train wreck), square footage (6 bedrooms versus single family home), and the anticipated outcome (simple, rustic style versus extravagant, modern abode), you can anticipate your fixer upper being completed sometime between 6 months or 6 years. It’s important to analyze your own goals for the home and the specifics of the logistics behind the project. We recommend establishing a timeline for your home project, rather than a strict schedule. There are too many moving parts to home improvement projects, so trying to plan each day down to the specifics will cause more trouble than it’s worth. Instead, consider setting a standard timeline (“by early May, we will have all of the flooring finished”) rather than a specific schedule (“on May 2nd we will finish all of the floors by 5:00 p.m.”). This mindset will save you many headaches, and create an overall smoother process.

Step Four: Master multitasking and delegating

We understand that embarking on this journey of your fixer upper is exciting, and you want to be involved with every process. However, in order to stay in budget and on schedule, consider allowing various contractors to work simultaneously in various rooms. Rather than focusing on one room or a time, or demanding to be present for each project, allow the project to flow naturally and for contractors to work at their individual paces. For example, while the drywall is being finished in the living room, flooring can be set in the kitchen and the lawn can be repaired. Don’t feel wary if your project looks like a war zone for a bit. Get excited that the different teams are able to work simultaneously for faster and more efficient results!

Investing in a fixer upper can be fun, terrifying, and time consuming. Do your research in advance and be flexible throughout the process. If you’re currently in the position of needing help with a fixer upper, call J-Tech today and we’d be happy to assist with all of your exterior needs.

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