Whether you’ve just invested in your first fixer-upper or have embarked on projects like these in the past, those first days after getting your keys can easily get bogged down in uncertainty. After all, at this stage, there’s so much to do that it can feel impossible to know where to start.
Luckily, there are ways to prioritize tasks here and get your foot in that door at last. Most commonly, factors including the safety of your property, the budget that you’re working with, and also which tasks would be easiest to complete before you move are a great place to begin.
Obviously, keeping these considerations in mind and applying them to your unique property is the best possible way to perfect your specific project. That said, there is a pretty reliable blueprint of priorities worth following in most cases, and we’re going to talk you through it here.
Step 1: Take care of rewiring
Generally speaking, project properties tend to need rewiring, and if this is the case for you then it’s always worth tackling this first. After all, as well as being essential for keeping your home safe, fresh electricals can take a fair amount of time to install. And that’s before we even consider the fact that rewiring creates as much dust as a renovation but across every single room. As such, seeking trained electricians that are also able to bring plasterers onboard to take care of the messy stuff at once is imperative for ensuring that this task is taken care of, and that you have the best possible foundation on which to build your other efforts. Even if you intend to knock down walls a little later on, you’ll at least be able to rest easy that, from here on out, any building work or dust will be far easier to keep in concentrated areas.
Step 2: Pave the way for pest control
It’s not at all unusual for fixer-uppers that have sometimes been empty for as long as a few years to experience often long-standing pest problems. While there’s unfortunately nothing you can do about that, leaving rats or other rodents/bugs to run riot can cause even more damage to your property in the form of chewed structural elements, cavities in your walls, and exposure to diseases that you’re going to want to avoid when you do finally move in. As such, again before work begins, you should both address outstanding pest problems and take action to prevent the same from happening again. Seeking trusted pest control services is especially valuable at this early stage as it will enable you to grasp the true extent of the problem you’re dealing with, as well as putting you in contact with professionals who can repair damage caused so far, and seal any holes of entry. Pest control services that also offer clean up services can then provide a far safer home which you can start working on right away to better meet your needs.
Step 3: Always insulate
Insulation of fixer-upper properties can often be either non-existent or questionable, meaning not only that you risk moving into a cold house, but also that you leave your property at ongoing risk of damp build-ups, condensation on the windows, and more. Again, these are issues that can soon cause secondary problems, meaning that it’s essential to invest in A+ insulation for your attic, and perhaps even within your internal walls if that’s something that appeals. Again, doing this before you move in or embark on extreme work is great because it provides a far more pleasant property straight off the bat. Equally, your ability to bring issues like damp exposure to heel before embarking on building work and certainly decoration, etc., is a sure way to protect whatever you put in place from potentially costly damage otherwise.
Step 4: Put plumbing to the forefront
As much as rewiring is a common requirement of older properties, plumbing can also be an issue, especially if a house hasn’t been used in a while. Yet, considering that you and your builders will likely want to use the toilet as soon as you start working here, this isn’t something that you can skip, especially if you want to avoid issues like burst pipes that can also damage your floorboards and beyond. Unfortunately, while you may be able to get away with simply unblocking your toilet and getting those pipes used to work again if your property has been empty for too long, you may most often find that older houses like these require complete replumbing. Like rewiring, this unfortunately isn’t a job for the faint of heart, and will often require the lifting of floorboards and more to get to where your pipes are. However, it’s again true that doing this early is the best possible way to ensure that it doesn’t lead to inconveniences when you least need them down the line.
Step 5: Remember remodeling
Whether you intend to gut your kitchen, knock down walls for open plan living, or add entirely new rooms onto the shell of the property that you’re working with, remodeling and renovation should most definitely follow the steps covered as your next best option. After all, while perhaps easier to contain than the other jobs mentioned, renovations of any kind can be an extreme disruption in your lives, with kitchen and bathroom renovations leaving crucial areas out of action for what can be weeks. Hence why you’ll also want to try and complete these tasks before you move in, or at least get as much of them done as possible ahead of that date. The high price tags attached to these projects (which will inevitably outstrip anything else that you need to do here), especially provide an incentive to get these tasks ticked off before you waste your budget on other less crucial considerations. That way, you’ll be far better able to take check of the money you have leftover, the saving you still need to do, and the non-essential projects that you can realistically finish before your budget runs out.
Step 6: Don’t overlook decorating
Decorating is often the last consideration that we take when it comes to perfecting our fixer-uppers, and rightly so. After all, it’s no use decorating your bedroom if the ensuite is about to be ripped out, while a new living room carpet that will inevitably be trampled on as builders walk to and from your kitchen is guaranteed to be a waste. That said, once you’ve taken care of remodeling, it is often worth considering decorating as the next best step. That’s mainly because everything from carpets to paint and wallpaper can be surprisingly difficult to install once your furniture is already in place. What’s more, remember that decoration is how you make that house (which is likely lacking in personality as it stands) feel like a home. Fail to take care of this early on, and you’ll struggle to truly settle into a property that should, when all is said and done, feel like your dream home.
Knowing where to start with a project of this size is undeniably difficult, made worse by the fact that no one can tell you for certain what’s going to work best for your needs. That said, using this priority list to at least tick items off as you need to could help to get you on the right track, and thinking at long last about what order works best for you from a practicality standpoint.