When you have a home that needs a lot work, it’s often hard to know where to start. Do you tackle minor issues first or go for the big fixes? If you have a limited budget, how do you know which projects are necessary and which projects can wait? Is it better to do everything at once or stagger renovations? These six steps will help you prioritize your home repairs so you can get a start on creating your dream home.
1. List Needed Repairs, Room-by-Room
To start, take inventory of the repairs that need to be done. Go room to room and list every project, from big things like flooring, to small projects like paint touch-ups. Writing out a list will help you organize and get a feel for the scope of repairs. Once you have a full list, divide the it between repairs you want to do yourself and those you need to hire a professional to do. Next, figure out a rough price for each item on the list. This might mean you need to have contractors come do estimates, or you need to head to the home improvement store to price out supplies. Keep in mind that whatever your initial estimate is, the end cost will most likely be higher.
2. Create a Budget
Before you do anything, set an overall renovation budget. Will you need to secure financing for big repairs? Do you have cash available? Will your money be available upfront or over time? Your budget will help determine what renovations are even possible and help you envision a timeline for each project. Knowing your overall budget upfront will also help you from overspending.
3. Resolve Safety Issues First
Although they may not be the most exciting repairs aesthetically, some projects must be tackled first. Address any issues that impair the operation of the home or your safety — a leaky roof, non-functioning refrigerator, broken windows, etc. Resolving these issues first will help protect your investment, so you can get to the more fun renovations later on.
4. Consider Resale Value
After resolving any safety issues, consider renovating the rooms that will add the most value to the home: the bathrooms and kitchen. These are the rooms that almost always increase the resale value — a bathroom can have an up to an 80 percent return on investment. Seek estimates from several reputable contractors for complete renovations, keeping in mind that, for example, the average cost to replace a bathroom is between $10,000 and $30,000. Of course, renovating these two areas can cause a major disruption in your life, so consider timing before tackling either project.
5. Complete Inexpensive Projects with Big Impact
Nothing will make you feel better about the state of your fixer-upper than a new coat of paint. Prioritize projects that are relatively inexpensive — like painting, changing out fixtures or pulling up carpet — but will have a big impact on the look and feel of the home.
6. Reevaluate Based on Remaining Budget
After making necessary safety repairs, updating your kitchen and bathroom, and completing high-impact projects, take a look at your home improvement list and remaining budget. Continue to tackle each room starting with the ones you use the most.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by home projects, but knowing where to start can help ease some of the stress. Remember these six tips when you’re ready to take that first step toward of home improvement.