Last updated on January 11, 2022

Most home buyers don’t purchase with the intention of starting a whole home remodel. However, there are plenty of people out there who do love the idea of buying an older home that can be improved on a budget. If you fall into the later group, then the allure of an older home can be irresistible. Sometimes it’s the character of the home, its age, or simply the cost savings.

Whatever your reason is for wanting to invest in a fixer upper, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into. Get the planning wrong, and you could end up blowing your budget and regretting your decision. Get it right, and you could enjoy a beautiful home at a bargain price, with a painless whole home remodel that adds long term value.

Here’s everything you need to know before you even start exploring the market.

Get the Financials Right

The cost of a fixer upper is more than just what you’ll pay for the home on the market. You’ll need to take whole home remodeling or renovation costs into account.

  • Add up all the costs for home renovation or remodeling. Don’t leave anything on the table here. Painting, flooring, minor repairs, basement finishing etc. should all be considered.
  • Estimate the home’s value after remodeling and renovation. Subtract up to 15% for miscellaneous costs and unforeseen repairs.
  • Combine your whole home remodeling estimate with the offer you plan to make on the house. If this comes in below your estimate of the final market value, then you could be looking at a good deal.

If the numbers add up and you’re likely to save money on buying and then creating the home of your dreams, then you could push ahead with a purchase and then start talking to home remodeling contractors in Des Moines.

However, in most cases, there will be more points to consider…

Choose a Home That’s in Relatively Good Shape

Most professionals don’t recommend buying a home that needs major repairs and structural improvements. This could end up being costly and could offset the benefit of buying a fixer upper in the first place. Your best bet is to choose a home that is in decent shape, where you can work with the existing structure to achieve your vision.

It’s best to look for something where you will only need to make cosmetic improvements. Replacing drywall, repainting, and refinishing or replacing floors are examples of repairs that will return more in market value than what they cost to complete. A new kitchen and bathrooms can also significantly increase the market value of a fixer upper.

Whole home remodeling could see you making major improvements, such as basement finishing, or even garage finishing. You may want to add a small extension to the home as well. You’ll need to consider how much all these projects would cost and the value that they will return.

Buying a home that is close to needing a complete rebuild will not be economically viable. It’s great making improvements on an older home, but you should stay realistic when considering the complexity and cost of the project.

Be Prepared for the Time Investment of a Whole Home Remodel

Money is important but it’s not everything on a whole home remodel. Even minor home renovation takes time, and you’ll need to be aware of just how disruptive this can be on your lifestyle. You may need to live in the home while repairs and modifications are underway. If you have children, then this could be a nightmare. If you live alone or with a partner, then it will be easier to manage the interruptions.

You might also like to carry out some of the work yourself. Many fixer upper buyers are DIY enthusiasts. You could do some of the smaller jobs like removing fixtures and materials, which could reduce your contractor bill. You could even take on some of the smaller projects like bathroom floor tiling or installing a new vanity.

Exactly how much time you personally spend on a whole home remodel is up to you. Know your limitations and when it’s best to call in the professionals. While it could seem like you’re saving money by doing some DIY work, you might end up with sub-par results that take longer to complete. Spending a little extra for home remodeling contractors Des Moines will result in faster work that looks better and lasts longer.

6 Things You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Fixer Upper

Budget, the right home, and understanding the time investment are all great starting points to whole home remodeling in a fixer upper. Here are 6 more things that you need to know before you get started.

  1. It’s essential to vet your contractors. It’s best to go local with a company that has an established reputation. You can talk to previous clients, view the contractor’s work, and you’ll always have some recourse when dealing with a local service provider.

  2. Communication is key to a successful whole home remodeling job. You need to tell your contractors exactly what you’re looking for. If you don’t have a good working relationship and a mutual understanding of your goals, then you won’t get the results you want.

  3. Research is important. You don’t need years of home renovation and remodeling experience to understand the fundamental concepts of home improvement. Learn more about simple repairs, materials, and any improvements that you’re planning. This will give you a better understanding of what you’re paying for and the scope of the entire job.

  4. You can shop around for materials. Home remodeling contractors in Des Moines have extensive supplier contacts and can often find you fixtures and materials at the best prices. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t shop around. You could find one-off discounts, end of run appliances, and other items for your project. In some cases, it’s possible to save money by doing some legwork and comparing prices at the different home improvement retailers.

  5. It’s OK to compromise. The best contractors will work with you to achieve your vision, but there could be specific areas where you need to compromise to stay within budget. Make sure that compromises are made in the planning stage. You can save money on smaller items like kitchen and bathroom hardware. You could also reduce remodeling costs by choosing more affordable materials, such as engineered or laminated wood flooring in place of hardwood, or quartz counters rather than granite or marble.

  6. You will probably go over your budget. Even the best contractors can’t foresee everything on a project. Changes in material prices, and undetected structural problems can pop up while work is underway. Your project manager will work to minimize budget overrun, but it’s still recommended that you plan for at least a 15% overspend when compared to your original budget. This is a common practice for most whole home remodeling projects.

Millions of people remodel every year, but only a relatively small portion of homeowners work in fixer upper homes. Whether you purchased the home for investment or to live in, going in with eyes wide open will always work out better in the long term.

Start Talking with the Best Home Remodeling Contractors Des Moines

If you’ve invested in a bargain fixer upper, you’ll need reliable contractors in Des Moines to bring the home up to its full potential. HomeWorx Iowa can help with extensive whole home remodeling, minor renovations, and everything in between.

We work with you from end to end, providing expert project management to ensure that your remodel is as stress-free as possible. In the planning stage, we keep costs down by providing 3D modeled improvements so that you can visualize what your new spaces will look like.

A fixer upper can be the perfect way to climb the property ladder. You could get your dream home on a relatively small budget, but you need to be smart about it. Ensure that you turn your vision into a valuable home that is a real asset. Contact us today to discuss your next home renovation or remodeling project.