Fixer Uppers 101 - Lamacchia Realty in San-Angelo-Texas

Published Mar 17, 23
5 min read

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Most people who purchase fixer-upper homes generally do so because they can't afford a turnkey property that meets their needs. A recent report from Buildworld, a UK company that connects buyers with building materials, reveals that 73% of people who buy fixer-uppers do so because of money issues. However, financial reality can be challenging when moving into a home that needs a little (or a lot) of TLC.

And why? According to Buildworld, the average spend on "necessary repairs" is about $13,000, and "practical upgrades" cost about $6,000. So we asked experts to help identify the fixer-upper projects that make the most sense right out of the gate and give you the most bang for your buck. Here's what the industry insiders had to say, along with a few fixer-upper tips on how to get organized as you embark on your fixer-upper facelift. Kim Cornelison First things first: It's essential to understand what work should be done for safety reasons and to prevent costly challenges down the road.

"Create a priority list and start with what must be fixed," says Robbie Maynard, San Diego-based interior designer and owner ofRobbie Interiors. "Hire an inspector to look for potential issues or hazards with electrical, plumbing, and the roof. It's a good idea to start with the structure and take care of items like electrical, which can be a potential fire hazard, as well as plumbing issues so that you don't end up with major problems or damage in the future.

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Then you can decide what you can afford to do first. And remember, while safety repairs are likely among the most expensive, they're critical to laying the proper groundwork for subsequent projects. "Upgrading plumbing and electrical is always expensive," says Amy, Lynn Schwartzbard, owner of New York City-based Life Designs Group.

Plumbing could run $15,000-plus. But the additional work isn't worth doing if the inner runnings of the home are in disarray." John Bessler Once you've addressed safety matters, you can focus on aesthetic renovation projects and upgrades. Adding a new coat of paint throughout your home can make a big difference without a big investment, says Stephanie Lindsey, principal designer with Texas-based Etch Design Group.

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"We feel rejuvenated and like we have a clean slate to start a new chapter. You can paint walls, cabinets, or even your front door for a fresh new look." The best part: a paint project can cost as little as $50, depending on the scope. Maynard also notes that paint almost always needs a refresh when a home transitions from one owner to the next.

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"The great thing is you can paint yourself and save on this one." For an added style boost, consider painting an accent or focal wall, generally the wall you first see when entering a room. It might also be the wall where your sofa or bed is located. "Dark gray or smoky green or blue are all popular colors," says Maynard.

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Maynard recommends luxury vinyl plank flooring to save money, which runs about $5 a square foot. "It's the best thing since sliced bread," says Maynard. "It looks like real wood for a fraction of the cost. I love the chevron or herringbone patterns, which I have been specifying in many of my projects.

New flooring and paint will transform your fixer-upper right before your eyes." Not only will new flooring brighten a fixer-upper visually, but tackling this type of change early on can be much easier logistically. Once you've moved in, and your furniture and personal belongings fill every room, redoing flooring can be challenging at best.

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"It usually takes several days from beginning to end. The smell from the fresh polyurethane [if you're refinishing hardwood floors] can also take a day or two to dissipate." One additional fixer-upper tip: the color you select for your vinyl flooring or floor stain will also help set the stage for future updates in your home.

They can be more affordable than interior changes, which often require plumbing and other system improvements. The 2020 US Houzz & Home Study found that 21% of renovating homeowners tackled roofing, windows and skylights, and exterior paint projects at a median spend of $8,000, $3,900, and $1,000, respectively. Realtor Jennifer Thomson says that outdoor yard and landscaping projects are also a good idea.

"If you use fast-growing grass seed, you will have a lush lawn surrounding your home in no time. Most homeowners spend between $450 and $900 on lawn seeding a 5,000-square-foot lawn. When it comes time to sell your fixer-upper, the curb appeal will add thousands to the value of your home." Bermuda grass germinates in as little as seven to 10 days, while Buffalo grass can take two weeks to 30 days, says Thomson.