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 to 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 used 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!