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Renovating a Fixer-Upper: 3 Projects You Must Prioritize



Fixer-uppers are comparatively cheaper than move-in-ready homes. 


With median home prices rising, it’s no surprise that 59% of first-time homebuyers were shopping for fixer-uppers in 2023. 


When you buy a fixer-upper, you secure a good property at an affordable price. But fixer-uppers require a lot of renovation and repairs. Develop a budget beforehand. Table Mountain Electric states that developing a well-planned budget is important when it comes to managing renovations. Or you might overspend. 


But before you develop a budget, you must figure out the projects you must prioritize first. Of course, you can’t tackle every aspect at once. To simplify it, here are some renovation projects you should prioritize to ensure your fixer-upper transformation is a success. 


#1 Fix Roof, Walls, and Ceilings

Believe it or not, the roofs, walls, and ceilings of most fixer-uppers require significant repairs. Handle them first, even before you move into the space, to ensure everyone’s safety. Ignoring them now will cost you a lot later, both in terms of money and your family’s safety. 


Inspect the roof for leaks, missing shingles, or signs of wear. If the damage is minor, get the roof repaired. But replace it altogether if the damage is substantial. Or the cracks in the roof or missing shingles will cause water to seep through. This will cause structural damage and lead to the growth of mold and mildew. 


Turn your attention to the walls, then. Check for cracks or dampness. You can spot cracks easily, but dampness isn't. Some visible signs of dampness you should look for include brown or yellow stains, peeling wallpaper, and crumbling plaster. 


Pay attention to the ceiling, as well. Examine it for stains, cracks, and sags. These signs often point to water damage from roof leaks or plumbing issues. Fixing the ceilings might involve replacing damaged drywall, addressing insulation problems, and ensuring there’s no ongoing moisture issue.


Had it not been a turnkey property, we would advise you to fix these issues yourself. But since it’s a fixer-upper, it’s best to hire professionals for the task. Professionals can accurately diagnose and repair the underlying problems, ensuring that the roof, walls, and ceilings are structurally sound and free from moisture issues.


#2 Update Electrical and Plumbing Systems

Fixer-uppers are most likely to have outdated wiring and plumbing systems. They could be hazardous and may lead to fires or electrical shocks. Updating them is important. Besides improving safety, they will increase the overall value of your property. 


Hire a licensed electrician to inspect the wiring, outlets, and circuit breaker panel. Get the outdated wiring replaced, such as knob-and-tube or aluminum, as they can pose fire hazards. Make sure you upgrade the electrical panel, too. Opt for a model that can handle the modern power demands and add more outlets if needed to accommodate today’s technology-driven lifestyle. 


When hiring an electrician, check their experience. Make sure the electrician is experienced enough to understand the nuances of various electrical issues. 


For plumbing, look for signs of leaks or corrosion. Leaked or corroded pipes affect the water quality. Replace old pipes with modern, durable materials such as PEX or copper. Upgrade to energy-efficient fixtures to save water as well as money on utility bills.  


#3 Improve Energy Efficiency

Before you move into your fixer-upper, make it energy-efficient. Making upgrades that won’t consume too much energy will not only reduce utility bills, but also enhance comfort and environmental sustainability.


Upgrade insulation in the walls, attic, and floor to prevent heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Proper insulation helps maintain a consistent indoor temperature, reducing the load on heating and cooling systems. Don’t forget to seal gaps or cracks in the home’s exterior to improve insulation and energy retention further. 


Replace doors and windows, too, since old models aren’t energy-efficient. Go for those with ​​double or triple glazing and proper seals to minimize drafts. Install a programmable thermostat to optimize heating and cooling schedules. This will ensure your home uses energy only when required. 


Buy Energy Star-rated refrigerators, dishwashers, HVAC systems, and other appliances to significantly cut your energy consumption down.


To sum things up, renovating a fixer-upper might seem like a Herculean task. But that is because you want to handle everything at once. You can tackle the renovation process methodically and effectively by breaking it down into manageable steps. 


Once the projects discussed here are done, renovate the kitchen, update the bathroom, and refresh the walls and floors. Rest assured that the challenging renovation process will become easy and you will create a home that reflects your vision and increases in value.

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