Often when my friends come over they comment on how beautiful our house is. I love to hear the praise because trust me when I say, our house didn’t always look like this!!! When we bought the house and we came to do the inspection, I was horrified; “what have I gotten us into?” was what I was thinking. The house was a mess. It was dirty (like really dirty), outdated, and we were leaving behind a newly renovated home. I was terrified. Nonetheless, despite my fears we moved forward because deep down I knew the bones were there and the house had potential.
In today’s market I know many people that want to move up or even get into the market for the first time. Living in the Lower Mainland this is not an easy feat. Prices are high and houses move fast, and there is still competition. My advice for anyone looking to move up or get into the market for the first time that feels like it is unattainable is to buy a bit of a fixer upper. Here are some things to consider:
LOCATION. Where do you want to be? Make sure the property is in a good location because all other things can be fixed up but you can’t change location. Also when you move to a desirable location and you make updates, your return on those updates will always be worth more than in a worse location.
BUDGET. Determine your budget for both purchasing the home (including all closing and moving costs) and your budget for making updates. If you have a small reno budget, focus on how you can make the biggest impact for the least amount of money. For instance, if your kitchen and bathroom cabinets are in good shape consider having them sprayed rather than replacing them, choose laminate or engineered hardwood over real hardwood floors (they’re also more durable), paint, etc.
REMEMBER YOU CAN DO IT OVER TIME. While we chose to complete big impact renovations when we first moved in such as updating our kitchen, replacing the floors downstairs, and painting the interior; we did many other projects over time such as painting the exterior, updating the front porch, and updating our backyard. And our list continues, one day we will update our front yard, replace some of our appliances, reno our bathrooms, and maybe build our dream mud room.
GET INVOLVED. For some renos we hired a contractor (thanks to Carmana Home Improvements for their amazing work) but for other projects such as replacing our fence, building our front porch, wallpapering, and some of the painting, we did this ourselves. We also called upon the help of family and friends and this helped save us money as well.
Yes, doing renovations can be a lot of work but I wouldn’t change it for anything because now we have a custom house that is exact to our design taste and style and we are in one of the best neighbourhoods on a quiet street. Had we only been looking at houses that were completely renovated, we likely wouldn’t be living here. Here are some before and after pictures of our reno:
In addition to real estate, design is my passion and as a REALTOR® I can support you in envisioning turning your dream home into a reality.
Fiona White – REALTOR® with Sutton Group – West Coast Realty