On September 30th, 2019, we closed on our “forever home.” A beautiful piece of property and a floorplan we loved, we embarked on some significant renovations in exchange for a house saw ourselves in for many years to come. Hence, the name: the Forever Fixer Upper.
Built in 1982, our home was lived in only part-time for a few years prior to us purchasing it. When in the country and living here, the former owner smoked cigars in virtually every room of the house. (We believed that he only enjoyed them in the sunroom, but that is another story for another day.) We moved in with my parents for what we thought would be a few days…and it turned out to be three months of funny-movie-worthy tragic comedy. Throughout this time, we hired-and-fired a group of painters, I reinjured a herniated disc, and we discovered our subflooring was rotten in more than one place and all of our floors would need to be replaced (something we hoped to not have to do for a while)… I am SO glad to be past all of that.
We have projects up-to-here left to do. (We still don’t have knobs on most of our doors!) It is easy to forget how far we have come.
These are my suggestions to keep in mind when considering purchasing a fixer-upper.
- Budget – Before you buy, you need to know what you can afford. Begin pricing and prioritizing projects. Know exactly how much cash-on-hand you will need to complete “must-do” projects prior to moving in. Some projects may need to wait.
- Buffer – Always keep an emergency fund for unforeseen issues. A “buffer budget” will save you from massive amounts of debt when something inevitably breaks or goes wrong. When you purchase a fixer-upper, you’re purchasing the problems you can and can’t see. If major problems are present, it is safe to bet there are additional problems that are not as apparent. A good inspection prior to closing is helpful, but you will likely still have something come up.
- Breathe – Easier said than done. My husband and I joke that the purchase never seems more like a bad idea than after it is finalized. Remember what you love about the house and that most things in life worth having require work. If you anticipate that things will probably run off of the rails at some point it is easier to remain calm when it happens. This will save you a lot of heartache.
- Buy Smart – Look for deals and shop wherever they may apply! Chris happens to be a Navy Veteran which has played a major part in where we choose shop. Lowe’s generously recognizes military service with their Military Discount Program. It allows us to save 10% on most purchases (some exclusions do apply.) Many retailers offer discounts for military active-duty and veterans, teachers, students, etc. Check to see what programs retailers offer before you begin shopping. Don’t underestimate the power of 10% off if you find a program that you qualify for. If you are looking at completing major renovations it adds up quickly!
I look forward to bringing you along on the rest of our home-renovation journey. I hope you found these tips helpful!