ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent Fixer-upper houses: top tips for your first time

Fixer-upper houses: top tips for your first time

Investing in a fixer-upper house will require lots of time and energy. But the results can lead you to your dream home if you follow the right steps.

6 min read

The romanticism and positivity of those who embark on renovation journeys with fixer-upper houses can’t be denied. Investing in a property that you know on purchase is going to require some serious TLC is a leap of faith. Whether you’re crafting your dream forever home or niftily adding value for property ladder aspirations, it’s a process that demands time, energy and patience. We’ve previously explored the big renovation mistakes that first-time buyers make but, adopting the positive mental attitude of a fixer-upper first timer, we’re flipping the script and offering our top tips to make your renovation a success.

Are fixer-upper houses worth the hassle?

Asking someone at each stage of renovating if a fixer-upper house is worth it is likely to elicit an entirely different response. Before, the opportunity can feel electric and the possibilities seem endless. This is a fantastic way to approach the work but some groundwork to make sure you commit to the right space for what is going to be an enormous investment.

For this reason, before buying your property, we recommend thoroughly researching the area your property is in because you’re going to be anchored there for some time. We also recommend paying for a pre-sale survey to be carried out to check vital factors like foundations and plumbing so you can avoid extra costs and focus on your big ideas.

During your renovation, there’s a chance you’ll never want to hear the words ‘fixer upper’ or ‘renovation’ again. Read our guide to living and working at home during your renovation to steel yourself for the dusty endurance test ahead, prepare for the worst and set expectations that don’t result in your losing sight of the reasons you started out in the first place.

And…breathe. Your fixer-upper home is, well, fixed up! While we can’t speak for every person who’s ever seen through a fixer-upper renovation, we can direct you to Resi customers who’ve been through their own works. Find out about why so many homeowners have trusted us with their projects and discover just why we’re rated ‘Excellent’ on TrustPilot here.

With all this in mind, there’s no one correct answer to whether a fixer-upper house is worth the hassle. But there are a number of ways to make an informed decision that may just make the process a little more joyful for you. It’s time to move on to our top tips for first timers.

Fixer-upper house hassle

Hire an architect

We’ve already touched on hiring a surveyor to carry out your pre-sale survey before you buy your property but if you’ve already taken this step and the home is yours, the ball is ready to roll on. Hiring an architect is one of the best ways to ensure that your vision for the future of your fixer upper is achievable, realistic, safe and durable in the long-term. To learn more about the particulars, delve into our aptly titled ‘Do I need to hire an architect?’ deep dive.

What’s more, if budget is a concern when it comes to your renovation project, architects are a brilliant way of clarifying costs and offering expertise about external contractors. You can expect this from Resi architects alongside guidance on how much money to set aside for each stage so you’re never left out of the loop when it comes to the progress your fixer-upper is making.

Quick note: If budget is your main worry, contact the Resi Finance team who will help you explore funding options to find the right path for you to pay for your home improvement project.

Discover the cost of an architect in minutes with our quick quote tool.

Architects for fixer-upper houses

Hire an interior designer

According to the interior design experts at My Bespoke Room, hiring an interior designer can be a sure fire way of saving you money in the long run. Isobella Ash, their Digital Marketing Director says: ‘They will take the stress and anxiety out of the process and stop you making any expensive mistakes. Fielding a sea of questions from your builders and making big decisions on the go can quickly become overwhelming. A designer will take the guesswork out of the process and give you the confidence that you’re making the right calls.’

So, while it’s setting money aside to pay another professional it offers you the expert insight, industry knowledge, contacts and access to excellent value materials that you can gain from hiring an interior designer for your fixer upper is second to none. Learn more about the interior design process and what the process looks like to see if it’s for you over at My Bespoke Room.

And, if you can’t hire an interior designer, we recommend communicating your vision with every professional involved in your process from day one. This can be in the form of an inspirational mood board gathered from sites like Pinterest, ideas borrowed from the glossy pages of Architectural Digest or interior design accounts on Instagram. Or, for real-life completed renovation projects, check out our portfolio and take a peek into Resi customer’s finished homes.

Interior designers for your renovations

Don’t lose sight of the practicalities

We’re ready to reel it back in from the heady heights of interior design to remind you that setting solid foundations for your property should always come first. Our CEO, Alex Deplegde, recently sat down to discuss what she looks for in an ideal home: ‘It's really not sexy… but I would be looking for whole house insulation. I think a lot of my advice to everybody is to spend money on the things that have to work the hardest and that are going to last.’ Sexy or not, we think it’s  sage advice for fixer upper first timers. To learn more about what practical elements to prioritise in your fixer upper planning, read the Science of a Happy Home Report and make a list of realistic features that are likely to have a long-term and profound impact.

One of the most fundamental aspects of renovating a home in the UK that can add unmatched comfort and value over time is insulation. A staggering number of existing properties in the UK currently have an EPC rating of D or less. An EPC rating is an Energy Performance Certificate and, as a general rule of thumb, the lower down the alphabet from A your property is, the less efficient it is. Investing in quality insulation is a great way of combating poor energy efficiency and it could even save you money in the future. Learn about how to check your home’s insulation and how to improve it to add long-term value and everyday comfort.

Home insulation

Prioritise your works

Save daydreaming about the finishing touches of your future abode until the most important areas have been handled. We recommend addressing structural issues above all, as this will lay the foundation for the rest of your fixer upper project. Use the opportunity to have leaks, damp and insulation assessed as it’ll save you a headache later. Once the foundational bricks are laid, if you’re planning on moving into your property as quickly as you can, consider which rooms will be most useful to you. There’s a lot to be said for the simple joy of having a shower or sticking a frozen pizza in the oven once you’ve experienced the dust-heaped perils of a fixer-upper job.

Celebrate the little wins

Not every day in fixer-upper renovation land is going to be smooth. You’ll likely be challenged to exercise patience at many points along the way. If you have a great architect and construction team on board, don’t be afraid to take breaks from the everyday realities and catch a breath. Keep your end goals in sight without getting ahead of yourself and relish the small steps forward in progress because – even with the relatively inevitable bumps in the road – once it’s all done, you’ll be impressed with how you handled it.

Celebrating your works

Whether you’re considering embarking on a fixer-upper project or any kind of renovation, book a free advice call with one of our experts and discuss your options.

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