When we were looking at buying our first house, my wife and I faced a lot of different choices. We could afford to buy an older, larger, more run down house and remodel it, or we could buy a smaller, newer house that didn’t require much upkeep. Because we knew that we wouldn’t be buying another house for quite some time, we decided to buy an older house that allowed more room for our family to grow.
Remodeling has been quite the experience, and I’ve helped knock down a few walls myself. This whole process has taught me a lot about what it means to be a responsible adult. We’ve had to learn a lot of things as we went along, without a lot of help from professionals. There are a couple of things I’d recommend to anyone hoping to do some remodeling themselves:
- Figure out the costs – Remodeling can be quite expensive, so before you buy more house than you can chew, look at the neighborhood, property and how much you can afford to spend. Make sure you don’t underestimate your costs, and if anything, overestimate what you think it will add up to. Make sure you have the money in case things are much more expensive than you anticipated.
- Pick and choose your battles – Some things require little work, but they have drastic effects to the overall ambience of your house. Start with the little projects and see how far they go. You can start with the rooms you are in most frequently, like your kitchen, and then move on from there. Replacing kitchen cabinets can drastically change the overall feel of the room, and you might not need to replace the flooring like you originally thought. When renovating an old house, a little paint can go a long ways towards making it feel like home.
- Be prepared to do things yourself – You can save a lot of money if you don’t hire out for everything. A lot of the home improvement tasks aren’t hard to learn, and it also gives you a chance to bond with your spouse (when you’re not busy being frustrated when something goes wrong). When we got around to putting an epoxy floor coating in our garage, we only paid for supplies because we had figured out how to tackle the problem ourselves.
Remodeling our house was a great decision for us, and now that we’re through, we have a house that fits exactly what we want. As long as you are realistic about your goals and expectations, you can make it work for you too.