5 Ways to Save Money on a Fixer Upper


We recently bought a cute little fixer upper house, so we are constantly looking for ways to save money without having to sacrifice too many luxuries and features we want in our house. We have been trying to do as much of it ourselves as possible, which helps keep most of the repairs and upgrades relatively inexpensive, but there are some things that are best left to the professionals. Through this process we have found quite a few different ways to save money: these are my top 5 so far:


1. Find Local 2nd Hand Building Supply Stores

We have been able to save thousands already by using 2nd hand building stores. Our favorite one is the Restore which is a non profit for the Habitat for Humanity! When builders have excess materials they often donate it non profits such as the Restore for a tax write off, so they often have materials here that have never even be used. You can also
get gently used appliances and fixtures that have been taken out of homes that have been remodeled. We had restore_pictureto buy all new blinds for our house and we are able to get the 2″ Faux Woods ones that would have been over $60 each because we have such large windows for only $10 each. We had 7 windows that needed blinds so that alone added up to a savings of $350, just on blinds! We also found some great outdoor light fixtures for $8 we were able to repaints so they look as good as new. If you aren’t sure where to look, ask the professional you just hired if he knows of a good 2nd hand building supply store in your area.


2. Find Tools to Borrow or Rent

We are lucky to have family near by and fantastic neighbors! There are so many tools that you need for little projects when you are fixing up a house that you won’t need on a regular basis. You can save a lot of money by renting these tools or by borrowing them from a neighbor. We rented a paint sprayer from our local paint store instead of buying We had to completely re-do the lawn, instead of sod we decided to lay seed, which meant a lot of rota-tilling and raking. We knew we wouldn’t be using a rototiller  very often so we were able to borrow my father in laws for a few weeks in exchange for my husband doing some manual labor at their place with their rototiller, which he most definitely would have done anyway, so it saved us a lot of money! We were also able to borrow a pressure washer, miter saw, and caulk gun— the caulk gun was just because we couldn’t find ours at the moment and needed to replace some shingles on our roof ASAP. Thank God for Good Neighbors!

3. Get 2-3 Quotes When Hiring Out Work

If you don’t like any of those quotes you can always get more, but for the most part getting more than 3 quotes in a waste of time. Check for reputable businesses, be sure they are licensed and check reviews with the Better Business Bureau and Google and Yelp reviews if they are available. You can look up contractor licenses for any state here: http://www.contractors-license.org/  There are quite a few different professional services you can use as well to connect you with the right company or person for the job. I deal_176351_handymansacramentoused Porch and I had 3 companies contact within the first couple of hours ready to give me a bid on my small framing project.  I was very happy that I got more than 1 quote because the first quote was twice as much as the company I ended up using! I was able to save over $1,000 just by getting more than 1 quote. That was definitely worth the time to meet with more than 1 contractor, and he did an excellent job!

4. Time Management 

Figure out how long you think it will take to complete the remodel/fixer upper project. Then double it. That is probably not what you expected to hear, we are always reading how we need to make a schedule and stick to it! Well I’m saying that too, but if it is your first time with a fixer upper or a remodel, it will probably take longer than you originally thought to get everything done, especially if you have full time jobs!

My original schedule was to have the house and yard completely redone in 12 weeks. I had it broken down by project and by how long I thought it would take. After the first 3 weeks I almost started hiring more professionals than needed and I was going to order Sod instead of waiting for the fall to seed. However, I calculated how much that would add to our home remodel and decided to change my schedule instead. Now I have allotted myself a full year, so I have time to get everything done without having to hire most of it out.

If you have no idea where to start in how long to allot for jobs there are quite a few free resources that will give you ideas on how to plan your remodel. I used HouseLogic for some ideas on how long renovations would take, but keep in mind this is using the time frame for professionals, not for a diy after a long day or long week of work, so cut yourself a lot of slack!

5. Be Flexible With Your Renovations

This is probably the most difficult one, and it ties in with 1&2. If you are anything like me you probably have a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to your home remodel. You might even have a board with pictures of your ideal picture, ideal laundry room, and of course your dream bathroom! However, you will save a lot of money if you can be flexible in the upgrades and changes you make me. Start with what is most important and if you have certain things that you will not budge on, for instance having a big open kitchen, then by all means spend the money there. If you found a floor that you like on pinterest, but then found flooring at the Restore for half as much that you really like to, go with the less expensive option. You can save a lot of money by being flexible and open minded with your upgrades and that will give you the freedom to take advantage of a great deal when it comes your way!


Comment with ways you have found to save money on your Fixer Upper and Share with anyone you know who is considering taking on a remodel project or a fixer upper house!




The Path to Home Ownership

For the past 10 years I have lived in 14 different places, so I have moved to a different place on an average of every 8.5 months. I honestly don’t mind moving, and my 5 year old daughter loves it, she gets so excited every time we move. However, my 2 year old son does not handle change well at all, and to be perfectly honest, I’m ready to be able to paint my kitchen any color I want and be able to have a dog without paying an outrageous pet deposit. This has led us to exploring buying a house.

I took the recommendation of a coworker on who to use for a real estate agent, and she was fantastic. I loved Ruthie, she was helpful through the whole process and really listened to what I was looking for in a house, which was somewhat specific. There were difficulties with the seller and the title and she was all in fighting for me to get me the house I wanted. Which leads me to the first steps to home ownership:

  1. Narrow down what you want in a house and prioritize. The prioritizing portion is important, obviously we all have our dream house list, but depending on your financial and work situation, everything you want might not be practical. I’m both very specific about what I like and I hate being wasteful, so we opted to look for a fixer upper (because I can’t justify repainting a house that was just painted even I hate the color). This worked well, we found a house that needed all new paint and all new floors, so I could totally justify changing to exactly what I wanted!
  2. Pick a good real estate agent. I’m not going to lie, at first I was like we have the internet, I can do it on my own, I don’t want an agent trying to push me into something I don’t want! I am so glad I listened to my coworker and talked to a real estate agent! Be sure to find an expert in their field and someone you enjoy being around, you might spend more time together than you would think!
  3. Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage. These 2 steps will actually be done together, in my case I actually spoke with the real estate agent first and she referred me to a mortgage broker she had worked with before who she knew and trusted. However, don’t fall in love with a specific house until you know what you can afford.  Same idea here, find someone who is an expert in the field (he had been in home lending for 20 years) and who you feel comfortable with because in some cases they will have to dig pretty deep in your finances and it might feel personal.

Get ready for a bumpy ride. I’ve heard a few home lenders begin the process with “By the way, at the end of this, you will probably hate me, and I’m so sorry!” It’s probably a good idea to set expectations low. That way if you are prepared for the worst, you can handle it, and if it ends up being a breeze, you will be on cloud nine! It’s a win-win.

From beginning to end, the process ended up taking almost 3 months by the time the title issues was cleared up. But we could not be happier, I love having my own home and the joys and challenges that come a long with it!

Follow my blog to learn some great ways to upgrade and fix your home on a budget! We will have a lot of new projects!