One of the best parts about buying a new home is the opportunity to make your mark on the house. If you’re thinking about buying a fixer upper, you have the perfect chance to start almost from scratch and turn your house into the most welcoming home on the block.
Buying a Fixer Upper as Your First Home
There are a lot of great reasons to buy a fixer upper. Let’s go over a few of the pros and cons of buying a fixer upper before we dive in:
● They’re cheaper. Obviously, a fixer upper is going to cost less than buying a new home of the same size. Homes that are in need of serious renovations often go for much less than the original asking price, which translates to a lower mortgage loan for you.
However, you need to think about how much you’ll be putting into repairs and renovations. Hire a contractor to do a walk-through of the house to make sure it meets building codes and get an estimate for repair costs. You should also think about how much work and energy you’ll have to put into the project.
You might be wondering, can you add renovation costs to mortgages? Well, no, not when you first take out the loan. However, after building home equity you can take out a home equity loan or set up a home equity line of credit. Both are good options for financing renovations down the road.
● Flip a house, turn a profit. If this is your first home, you probably aren’t looking to flip the house and sell it immediately. But fixing up an old house can be a good long term investment. A lot depends on the market value when you go to sell, but if you make improvements that raise the value of the house, you’ll likely be able to sell it for a profit when you’re ready to move to a new house.
● Make your mark. Buying a fixer upper as a first home means you have the opportunity to make it your own. When you go about remodeling or renovating the structure, you have the chance to turn it into your dream house.
You Bought a Fixer Upper. Now What?
Now it’s time to tackle remodeling the house. It depends on how much work needs done but most renovations involve a mix of do-it-yourself remodeling and professional work.
Remodeling a fixer upper takes time and patience, but here are a few easy ideas you can start with to turn your new house into a welcoming home:
● Paint. One of the easiest ways to freshen up a room is to paint. It’s a great project for DIY beginners. All you need are rollers, trays, brushes, tape, and plenty of drop cloths. Choose colors that create a soothing atmosphere in common spaces but don’t be afraid to add pops of color to liven things up.
One great tip for choosing paint colors is to compare each option to a white swatch. It’s an easy way to see how the color will look with neutrals and can help you better distinguish between shades.
Did you know that every year Pantone chooses a color of the year? This year’s color is greenery and Pantone has created a lot of great accent color palettes to match the aesthetic you’re going for. It might be a good idea to start there for inspiration.
● Update bathrooms. Bathrooms are a great place to start remodeling because you can make a big impact even with a small budget. Quick, easy fixes include adding new lighting to brighten the room, adding more towel racks for convenience, and updating faucets (you’d be surprised how quickly that can take a sink from dated to modern).
● Landscape. This is a popular project for do-it-yourself remodeling. Improving curb appeal is an easy way to welcome guests to your home before they even step foot in the house itself.
When you’re making your landscaping plans, just be careful not to obscure the house. Put low bushes in areas directly in front of the house and save ornamental trees or larger shrubs for the corners.
One landscaping trend that’ll never go out of style is an evergreen screen. It’s a line of evergreen trees at the edge of your property that protects you from harsh winter winds and adds a nice natural border. And when Christmas comes, you can add some holiday flair with ornaments and lights.
● Warm up the kitchen. Have you ever noticed how at parties, no matter how inviting the rest of the house is, people always end up hanging out in the kitchen? Make your kitchen a warm, inviting space by adding new lighting, mixing textures to create a depth, adding extra seating space with a nook or barstools, or incorporating fabric for extra warmth by adding curtains, rugs, and seat cushions.
But don’t spend too much time, money, or energy on bigger projects like adding new cabinetry. That’s one of the three remodeling projects that don’t offer a big return on investment.
● Get creative with space. Make your home more welcoming by making it less cluttered. Everyone is happier when they aren’t tripping over end tables or edging around knick knacks.
A few easy ways to increase space on your own without knocking down walls are to set up cubby bookcases that combine fashion and function, add floating shelves for extra storage, and turn a larger closet into a home office space. As long as the closet is deep enough for a desk to fit in, you can move your workspace into it to increase living space.
● Hire a professional. No one can do it all themselves. For bigger projects like heating and AC, electrical work, structural changes, etc., it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Compile a list of all the things you’d like to improve, then talk to a trustworthy contractor to get quotes and see what all fits into your budget.
Get started with Mercer Savings Bank
Whether you’re buying your first house, launching a full scale renovation, or just remodeling the master bedroom, Mercer Savings is here to help. Call 877.672.4543 to speak with a mortgage loan officer, fill out our online mortgage application or visit a Mercer Savings Bank location near you today.