Across the country, one of the best ways to buy a home at an affordable price is to buy one that needs some repairs. These are called “fixer-uppers,” and they’re homes that will need some remodeling in order to achieve that dream-home status.
Depending on your location, the number of projects and a wide range of other variables, a fixer-upper remodeling project could cost you as much as $50,000 to $100,000. But it definitely doesn’t have to. There are a number of smart, effective ways to keep the cost down while ensuring the money you saved on the list price isn’t completely funneled into home improvements.
So, if you’re in the market for a fixer-upper, consider these tips to save money on the inevitable remodel:
1. Pick your spots
Throughout any home improvement, you’ll have to decide when to do it yourself and when to bring in a professional. This is one of the most important ways to save money – naturally, professionals will cost a whole lot more, but you know the job will get done correctly. That is why you must pick your spots. Figure out which projects are a must-have and prioritize those. For example, a leaky roof or bad electrical wires will need to be fixed immediately. Ugly wallpaper or a yellowed carpet may not. Therefore, you’ll want the pros for that roof and electrical job, and perhaps you can tackle the wallpaper and carpet at your own pace later on. Bringing in pros for all the projects will rack up a big bill, plus renovating every component of your new home will also be costly. Decide which areas are important to you.
2. Get in the DIY spirit
A helpful tip for your next home improvement is to take care of that demolition on your own. Even if you’re not comfortable completing the projects without professional help, there are many rooms where you can do the demo by yourself – and for free. Try to remove kitchen cabinets on your own, or rip up an old hardwood floor. By not calling in the pros, you’ll save a fair bit of change. It’s important to note, though, that you need to be careful around electrical components, plumbing and gas pipes. It’s not a bad idea to demo as much as you can, and then call the professionals to finish the rest.
3. Shop for bargain deals
You don’t always have to buy new when remodeling your home. On the contrary, there are many ways you can save some money while shopping for new appliances, cabinets, paint and other supplies. One area to start your search is Craigslist and other online classifieds. Here you can find recycled lumber, furniture, appliances and much more for a lot cheaper than a retailer. There are also certain types of fixtures and building materials that are cheaper. For instance, open shelving is more cost effective than full cabinets, and track lighting costs less money than recessed lighting. Opting for these features can really hurt your bottom line.
4. Save your trash
A home improvement project creates a lot of trash. From old fixtures and appliances to lumber, nails and tile, you’ll have bags of debris to get rid of when you’re done. Instead of driving over to the local landfill and paying to dump it – or paying even more to have a service come and remove it – consider donating your trash. A number of charities and companies will collect any reusable components of your home for no charge, and you’ll then receive a tax write-off for it. So not only have you saved some money, you may have made some back come tax season too.
Buying a fixer-upper can be a smart move – assuming you plan ahead. If you’re in the market for this type of home, make sure you identify which areas need some remodeling right now, and which ones you can tackle later down the road. This will help you save money and end up with the home of your dreams.