A Homeowner’s Guide To Fixing Up A Fixer-Upper!

Getting your hands on a fixer-upper and customizing it to suit your lifestyle can be quite rewarding. Transforming a rundown space into your dream home lets you put your creative stamp on every wall, every nook of the house. This guide covers key steps to help you turn your fixer-upper project into your home.

Why Choose a Fixer-upper?

Fixer-uppers are more budget-friendly than move-in-ready homes. These properties also come with a lot of history and architectural charm that may be lost in newer constructions. From wood floors and high ceilings to ornate trim work, you will find original features that are otherwise buried in the past. Breathing new life into a fixer-upper allows you to merge the old with the new. You can also customize the layout, design, colors, and functionality to suit your lifestyle. Rather than adapting to someone else’s style, you can create an environment that caters to your needs from the ground up.

1. Streamlining the Move

Source: moving.com

Before embarking on the physical transformation of your home, it’s essential to think about the logistical aspects of moving. Hiring competent movers, like Solomon & Sons Relocation Company, can ensure your move to the new neighborhood is smooth and efficient. They offer an array of services that can ease the burden on homeowners.

Their team covers everything from furniture assembly and disassembly to strategic packing and unpacking. Their experts carefully wrap and protect your belongings, using best practices to prevent damage.

Additionally, their storage services come in handy if you need a temporary place for your belongings during the renovation. With door-to-door pickup and delivery, the moving process is the least of your worries.

2. Understanding the Scope of the Project

Before setting budgets or timelines, it’s important to thoroughly evaluate which areas of the home require work. Walk through each room, attic, and basement, documenting any issues with the roof, foundation, walls, flooring, windows, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Consider hiring a professional home inspector to provide an objective analysis. They can identify underlying problems, like weak support beams or faulty wiring. They will assess essential systems like HVAC and catch code violations that a nonprofessional like yourself would miss.

Understanding the full scope of renovations needed will assist in smarter planning and prevent unexpected costs. Don’t underestimate potential problems; it’s better to be overprepared than not at all! Develop a room-by-room checklist and get contractor estimates for bigger projects.

3. Setting a Budget

Realistic budgeting is crucial when taking on a fixer-upper project. Be sure to allocate extra funds as a buffer for unforeseen expenses. Many homeowners underestimate costs or overspend.

Work with a contractor to outline all materials and labor costs before establishing a budget. Get multiple quotes for each: plumbing, electrical, flooring, etc. Factor in permit fees, demolition, waste disposal, and specialty equipment rentals. Leave a 10–20% contingency fund for emergencies like water damage from leaky pipes or mold removal. Create clear payment schedules, and don’t make final payments until the issue is resolved.

4. Getting the Right Permits

Source: propertyguru.com.my

Most renovations require permits from local municipalities to ensure compliance with building codes and zoning laws. Electrical rewiring, plumbing upgrades, and structural changes typically need permits.

Look up permit needs for your specific project. Since approvals can take weeks, you can anticipate a long lead time. Keep copies of all permits on hand for inspection. Streamline this process by hiring contractors for permit acquisition. Don’t make the mistake of skipping permits to save time or money. Failure to obtain proper licensing can result in fines.

5. Hiring the Right Professionals

Vet potential contractors thoroughly and compare several bids. Get referrals from trusted sources like friends and your real estate agent. Verify if they are licensed, bonded, insured, and in good standing with your state licensing board. Review their previous work to evaluate quality and design sensibilities. Ensure they have experience aligning with your specific project, whether kitchen remodels or bathroom upgrades.

Clear communication and responsiveness are also key. Set detailed scopes of work, timelines, and payment schedules in a written contract. Hold regular check-ins to monitor progress and address any issues promptly.

6. Safety First

Many older homes contain hazardous materials like asbestos or lead paint requiring remediation by certified professionals. Outdated electrical systems also pose fire and shock risks. Address any structural instability issues under the guidance of an engineer. Ensure the home’s frame and foundation are sound before proceeding.

Proper protective gear like masks, goggles, gloves, and footwear is necessary during demolition. Restrict access to work zones and ventilated areas and follow all protocols outlined in work permits and by your local building authority.

7. Prioritizing Renovations

Source: discover.rbcroyalbank.com

Budget and scheduling constraints mean you must prioritize certain renovations over others. Focus first on safety issues, structural repairs, and installing essential systems like roofing, plumbing, and HVAC.

Next, tackle high-impact rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, which yield the best resale value. Upgrades like flooring and paint can wait. Stick to must-haves in the early stages, leaving “nice to haves” for later. Move systematically from one area to the next for efficient workflow. Create a roadmap but don’t be afraid to take detours.

8. Decor and Interior Design

Interior design is the fun part, making renovated spaces feel like home through personal decor. Create an inspiration board to determine your desired aesthetic before purchasing furnishings and accents.

Think about how you want each room to feel and function. Work within your budget by blending new key pieces with thrifted finds. Repurpose and upcycle items where possible. Hire a designer if needed. But also embrace your style. Personalize your home with meaningful pieces that spark joy. The right decor transforms a house into a home.

9. Final Walkthrough & Quality Check

Before moving into your renovated space, do a final walkthrough with your contractor to ensure all work meets your standards. Thoroughly inspect each room, test appliances/systems, and check for flaws.

Ensure the cleanup is complete and debris is removed. Identify any punch list items needing repairs before final payment. Discuss warranty for defects arising down the road. Once satisfied that the work is high-quality and the space is ready to move in, you can officially begin this exciting new chapter.


Although demanding at times, reviving a dilapidated home is worth your while. Take pride in your vision, effort, and patience in transforming an outdated dwelling into a comfortable, stylish haven you can enjoy for years to come.