Home Renovation Reality Tips DIY


unfinished wood floors with patches

I love watching those DIY shows, especially the ones that takes an old house and makes it all new and beautiful or restores it and makes it shine again.  Home renovations take time (and lots of money).  Check out my home renovation tips to consider before you start your next project.

We bought a fixer upper.  It’s a 140 year old sagging but bragging house with awesome bones.I can tell you a few things those renovation shows don’t tell you.

Home Renovation Tips

Team Work – the only team you have is yourself.  Possibly your friends and family helping you.  So the work will be slow.  The shows have a team of many people you don’t see working on the houses to make it all happen.

It takes more than 30 minutes to renovate a room. Even if you counted the commercials. If you are doing a big renovation, it is going to take a lot longer than 30 minutes like you see on TV.  They condense down days/weeks/months of work to give you the highlights.  It’s more of a 365 days/24/7 renovation.

There is no interview/camera crew to document your work.  It’s just you.  Working.  You will want to take  before and after pictures to share with people what the house looked like before and after.

mask protection renovations

It’s harder than it looks. Every night you will be exhausted and wanting to sleep.  If you have little kids, they will take what little energy you have left and you will crawl to bed and wake up and not want to get up.  Not to mention your body will be numb and in pain, but you must prevail, especially if you are being a weekend warrior trying to get everything you can done in 2 days.

Living in it while fixing it up, is (very) hard.  There is always a piece of the house you can’t go into, something is missing or doesn’t work.  Your stuff you really want, is packed away and you can’t get to it.  Unless you have the funds to live somewhere else, you will make do.

Prepare before renovating the kitchen.  Have a toaster oven, microwave or grill.  ANYTHING to get around not having an oven and cook top/range.  Otherwise, you’ll be eating out for every meal (which can be pricey).  If you renovate in the summer, many more options with a grill or flattop.

Realize your budget.  You might have premium tastes, but a bargain basement budget.  Look on craigslist, local habitat for humanity stores, local Facebook groups, garage sales and friends for used items you could repurpose for your renovation.  You can get what you want, for less sometimes.  And yes, you might still need to buy new and that is ok.  Look for sales to get more for your money.

kitchen cabinet door handles

Kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels are going to be where a lot of money spent. Prepare and save ahead of time and expect additional expenses.

Break it down in pieces. Figure out what needs to be done first, and what is reliant on another piece. Do you need to do your living space before you do the kitchen remodel? You will save money by figuring out an order to do things. Perhaps electrical needs to be done upstairs, and you need to tear out a room below it to access it.

Know your Limits. There may be small leaks/repairs you can repair or prevent. And then there may be large leaks, where a professional is needed. Try to assess the situation before you start the fix/remodel. This will keep you from calling a professional on a weekend and paying premium repair prices.


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