Purchasing a fixer-upper at any point in your life is a commitment, let alone when you have a young family in tow. The trials and tribulations of completing renovations are tenfold when you have little human beings seemingly permanently attached to you. However, putting pen to paper and committing to the purchase of a home that has seen much better days could be a financially astute decision and see a more buoyant financial outlook for your family unit.
Buying a home that needs total renovation means that you can put your own stamp on it. There is often a romanticized vision of you setting up spreadsheets, numbers adding up, budgets being stuck to, tradespeople turning up on time and completing every iota of work to an exceptional quality and you pitching in with minor DIY bits, all the while your kids are like little angels for six months and life is simple and easy. The reality will be the total opposite. Some days you will be pulling your hair out frantic with worry because the electrician hasn’t turned up, the budget for the bathroom is skyrocketing, and the kids are running around the building site like possessed banshees. It’s ok. Breathe.
Although it is a tad more trying with a young family in tow, renovating a fixer-upper can be done, and when complete, you will look back on your eventful renovations with a wry smile, thinking about the dream home you now have.
Before you have even purchased your fixer-upper, you should be doing your research of the area, crime rate, schools, ceiling prices for properties and housing market predictions. You could risk it and try to predict an up and coming area and put down roots there, but you could find yourself in a very stagnant situation. Up and coming doesn’t mean there will be loads of lovely cafes, greenery and a pleasant vibe returning to the locality overnight. To be on the safe side, opt for an already established area where house prices are always on the upward trajectory. Try and buy the worst house on the best street. This way, you can do up the humble abode you have bought, and you don’t have to worry about the location.
Set yourself a budget and make sure you add at least a 10% contingency. Things WILL go wrong. There’s no getting away from it. You might find a hole in the roof, loose guttering, poor electrics or rats in the basement. Extra costs that you have not accounted for will rear their ugly heads, so it’s important that you are prepared financially.
Depending on how much renovation needs doing, you could take this opportunity to create the optimum layout to fit your family’s needs within your new pad. You could opt for a couple of ensuites, design that open plan living space you have always wanted and situated the playroom to look out over the back garden.
When considering your little darlings, it’s important that you consider the configuration of your home with one eye on House Method’s childproofing guide. Keeping your offspring safe within your four walls is a priority so you must make sure that you have the plug socket covers on order and the kitchen cabinets fitted with child locks.
Renovating a fixer-upper will generate a building site like environment so when your kids come to visit, it’s essential that they have their hard hats on and are supervised by an adult at all times. Hazards are everywhere on a building site, for adults and children alike, so it’s important to be safe and alert.
The interior design style that you choose for your dream home could be highly personalized, a vintage-inspired mid-century Scandinavian look or something more traditional. If you are keeping an eye on seeing a return on your investment, don’t go too wild with the color schemes. While you don’t have to stick to white walls or magnolia hues for your shaker style kitchen, perhaps the magenta bathroom suite and flock wallpaper could be toned down a little. Anything too garish and you will put off the majority of potential buyers when you consider selling up.
If you are planning on making this property your forever home, then you have a little more freedom when it comes to your decor choices. With kids in tow, the clinical white look may not be the best with grubby hands around. Keep the look homely and enjoy putting some personal touches such as photographs, artwork and soft furnishings within your home.
While the decor and interior design is the most exciting and fun part of a renovation, you can’t neglect the more pressing structural issues that need to be checked. Get an expert onto the roof to check its integrity, put in a damp proof course if needed and get your utilities hooked up if they aren’t already. You could have the most beautiful show home look for your pad, but without gas to cook and water to shower, it’s not a functioning home.
Look into smart meters to save money when it comes to gas and electricity. Consider a technological revolution within the home so you can turn your heating on when you are on your way home from work on a freezing cold winter evening, ask your Wifi-enabled assistant for a recipe for the ingredients you have in your fridge and just say the word to turn your lights on and off. With a fixer-upper, you have the chance to create an efficient home fit for the twenty-first century.
While renovating a fixer-upper with a young family can be hugely stressful, the rewards will be worth it. Set a budget which you can stick to, organize your tradespeople so that they turn up when needed, configure your home to suit your needs and enjoy taking your time to decorate your new humble abode. Soon, you’ll be looking back on your renovation experience, thankful that you have created your family’s dream home.