There are several reasons why people decide to purchase an old house which has seen better days. One of the main motivations is usually the affordable price tag attached, giving homebuyers the chance to enter the property market quicker than if they were to purchase a new build.
Other reasons include the ability to effectively work on a blank canvas to create the ideal house and those who want to enjoy an old-fashioned property's original features.
Despite the positive aspects that are gained, make no mistake: attempting to breathe new life into a fixer-upper is far from an easy task. There are various aspects you have to take into consideration. Plus, if you do not pay the right amount of attention to certain issues, that original bargain could quickly turn into a money pit.
To avoid any undue heartache, here are eight tips to remember when renovating an old house.
1. Find the right property
Are you desperate to jump on the property ladder and get started with a renovation project? Well, do not let this desperation lead you into making a mistake where you buy a property that is not right for you. Always ensure you view any prospective house and consider these points:
- How much work is required on the structure?
- Is the property in a desirable location?
- Does the property feature enough outdoor space to complete extension work?
- What type of potential does it feature as far as design goes?
- How much did other similar properties sell for in the neighborhood?
To ensure you do not miss any vital details, make sure you hire a qualified surveyor to inspect the property.
2. Put together a plan
You have purchased a property. It is not in great shape right now, but the potential is there to match your ultimate vision. Before you can start turning it into a reality, however, it is imperative you put together a comprehensive and well-thought-out plan.
Start by walking around your new house systematically. Assess each room. Along with highlighting current problem areas that need fixing, visualize how you ultimately want every room to look like once the work is finished. This can be done by drawing rough sketches on a piece of paper or, if you want to go fancier with more detail, by using specialist home design software for a full 3D visualization.
3. The start of the deconstruction
When working on an old-fashioned property, there is one big question that needs answering: what features will be kept, and which will be discarded? Unless you want to go with a complete renovation where everything is replaced with something new, there will be certain features you will want to restore.
When you know what to keep, it is all about starting the deconstruction. This involves stripping the old wallpaper, removing old carpets, removing outdated fixtures, and so on. Once done, you will end up with a blank canvas where you can start to incorporate your vision.
4. Sort the infrastructure
Ensuring the home's infrastructure is in good condition is the most important aspect of this renovation project. Whether it is the windows or walls, damage to the infrastructure can lead to everything from inefficient insulation to affecting the property's entire integrity.
One of the biggest jobs, particularly with older homes, is to ensure the roof is in top shape. As time goes on, tiles can fall off the roof, and holes can develop. If these are left to fester, it could be a serious detriment to the house's entire structure.
When fixing the infrastructure, it is generally advised you hire a professional to do the job. This is especially the case for a major project such as a complete reroof. Make sure you research to find a professional with the right mix of expertise and experience. A company like Signature Roofing is an example to follow in that regard.
5. Plumbing and electrics
Once the infrastructure is sorted, the next step is to ensure your plumbing and electrics are both in order. Old properties are notorious for featuring unreliable plumbing and electricity. When you factor in that unreliable electricity is a serious hazard – to the point it could cause your home to burn to the ground – it is imperative it is sorted as soon as possible.
This presents an ideal opportunity to make significant changes to your home. If you want to alter the bathroom configuration, for example, you could change the plumbing to move around the toilet and bathtub position. In terms of electronics, you can also add modern features like underfloor heating and an intercom system.
6. Redo the floors and walls
When you lay new floors and plaster the walls, the vision of your dream property is going to start taking shape.
Before you dive deeper into the available options, ensure you select the right type of flooring for your home, whether it be carpet, tiles, hardwood, or a combination of multiple floor choices. The same type of approach should also be taken when selecting the type of paint or wallpaper you want for your home.
7. Add the finishing touches
All major problems are fixed. Now it is time to have some fun while taking care of the minor issues. The likes of doors, window frames, light brackets, and skirting boards may only have a minimal visual impact when isolated on their own, but when added up, they can have a dramatic influence on your home's atmosphere.
8. Update the exterior
If you are transfixed on the interior, it is all too easy to overlook the exterior of your home. Yet you cannot finish a renovation without focusing on the property's curb appeal. An attractive external appearance can also ensure people do not believe you live in a haunted house.
There are numerous steps you can take to update the exterior. This can include everything from cutting the grass and planting more flowers in the garden to repainting the walls.
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