So You Bought a Fixer Upper, Now What?

[fa icon="calendar"] October 11, 2019 / by Home Services Expert

overwhelmed new home ownerCongratulations, you’ve bought yourself a fixer upper! Now it’s time to become your own version of Chip and Joanna Gaines, but how? While watching their show “Fixer Upper” can give you some good ideas, they don’t really give you a step by step on how to accomplish it all.

But that’s okay! As Experts in our field, we’ve come up with just a few of the things you’ll need to do after signing on the dotted line and before you jump in with both feet.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Keep It or Flip It?

This may seem like a funny question, but it will heavily determine whether you are building to your specific wants versus the wants of the masses.

For instance, if you know this is the house you want to live in for the rest of your life then you can tailor the layout and design to a way of life that will suit you, no matter how out-of-the-box it is.

Flipping the house, even if it’s after living in it for a few years, means that you’ll want to make sure the layout and design is more common, and something that will fit the tastes of most people. This will help when it comes time to sell because more people will be interested in a neutral design.


Live In or Move Out?

Depending on how much work your fixer-upper needs, do you want to live in it during the construction process or live elsewhere?

You can totally live in your new home while it gets worked on, but it will greatly affect the length of the construction process. You’ll want to build a plan that tackles one room at a time instead of gutting everything at once. If you don't live in your fixer-upper while it gets re-modeled, the process tends to go faster because multiple rooms can be done simultaneously.


Look at Your Budget

Buying a fixer-upper means that the initial home costs are lower than a brand-new home, allowing you to put the money you saved into the re-model. Take a realistic look at your finances and determine how much money you can put into your fixer upper. Remember that you’ll need to budget for any big fixes like plumbing, electrical, or structural changes/damage before being able to do any additional changes.

Tip: Make sure you create a cushion in your overall budget. There is always something that needs fixing or adding that you haven’t seen or thought of yet. It’s better to plan for the unforeseen then have to sacrifice something you were hoping to change.


Make a Plan

Planning how you want the process to go will help you find a contractor that fits your needs. Figure out if you will:

  • Re-do a single room, multiple rooms, or the whole house.
  • Re-do it all at once or spread out in pieces.

Once you have an idea of how you want to go about fixing up your home, begin to search for the right contractor for your project. Contractors are busy people, so plan ahead of time instead of waiting till the last-minute hoping someone is free!


Don’t Over Build

Even if you’re building your dream home, it’s important that you don’t over build for the neighborhood. You may enjoy all the extra rooms or the amazingly designed backyard, but not everyone will.

Think of your return on investment (ROI) when fixing up your home. Investing $500,000 in a neighborhood that doesn’t sell above $350,000 means that when it comes time to sell you’ll end up losing money. People who can spend $500K will want a better neighborhood and people who are happy with the neighborhood won’t be able to spend that much.  


Additional Fixer Upper Tips

  • When planning out which parts you want to accomplish, prioritize the most important things first. For example, demolishing walls comes before painting, and painting comes before re-doing the floors.
  • If you don’t have all the funds you need to complete all the projects you want, figure out what you need to do now to live comfortably. The other projects can be done later down the line when the funds come in.
  • Having a contractor is amazing, but if you want to save a little money see if you can do any of the projects yourself.


Finding the right contractor or project manager for your home project can be difficult, but here at Experts in Your Home we want to help you build your dream project on time and on budget.

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We’re committed to first understanding your hopes and dreams so we can scope out your project correctly from the outset. The clearer we are on your expectations, the better we can  outline your options and ensure that we provide you with clear and accurate estimates from the beginning. Then we can help you get your project done for the quoted cost.