Finding The Right Home To Renovate

The world is filled with numerous homes, whether it is an apartment or a house which have been damaged, weathered or simply not well kept by a careless tenant over the years. These homes may not seem like much due to their visual appearance and state, but they could hold rich history, beautiful architecture, or simply radiate natural warmth deep on the inside. They may appeal to you simply due to their ideal location or because with a little work they can bring a big return. In either case and just like the saying “Never judge the book by its cover”, which applies here as properties like this, with careful study and research could turn out to be real gems. And this is not all, they could also end up saving you a whole bunch of money if you do it right!

We are also going to look at how the renovation is done and if you should hire a contractor or do it yourself. Last but not least, we are going to tell you a little bit about the legal side of things when it comes to renovations and give you some general tips for desert. So, let’s begin…


Choosing the right property for renovation is a very difficult task, especially if you have no prior experience. Selection requires a keen eye for detail and knowledge to estimate the cost of work and time the project will require.

An individual can easily purchase any old property and renovate it to perfection. This does not however mean that it will be a profitable investment in the long run. When browsing through the available listing and attending viewings you must control your excitement and desire to get it done quickly.

Here is a list of common things that you should take into consideration before taking on a renovation project:

  • Is it a good investment? – This is going to require some analytical skills. Try to estimate and evaluate the price of the property against the expected return on your investment.
  • Will the buyers like it? – As with any other product that you intend to sell, you must always consider if you potential Clients would see the property as a good investment and if it would meet their overall demands.
  • Floor-plan is important! – pay attention to floor-plans and the general layout of the property as this is a very important factor in its marketability. There should be sufficient space to move about and sufficient natural light.
  • Look out for structural defects – structural damages cost a lot of money to repair. In the long run, when renovating you would look to invest into adding value visually and avoid proeprties with structural defects.
  • Remember the goal – unless you are renovating the property for your own use, never forget the goal derived based on the demands of your potential Client. Keep this in your mind throughout the project and fight your desire to personalize it to your likes.
  • Recalculate the estimates – recalculate all your cost and profit estimates to make sure they are correct. This may be your last time to get out of a specific deal before it’s too late.


Now that you have selected the property to renovate, you should note down the overall plan. Throw your ideas down on paper. Once ready, check for local regulations to make sure that the modifications that you intend to make are in line with the law.

The next step before proceeding with the renovation is to prepare the budget. Spend sufficient time on this so that you don’t leave anything behind. Consider all costs and go in line with the estimated profits that you intend to make unless the property is for your personal use. If you arrive at a figure, which is outside your target consider making the necessary adjustments or proceed to explore means of savings on cost.

Keep things simple. Expensive and complex aren’t always the best solution. Try to explore various simple ideas that don’t require too much effort and could be accomplished with minimal material and labor hours. Remember that basic stuff like painting the property with a fresh new color is already going to be a big and noticeable improvement. It’s really easy to overcomplicate things by doing way too much. Try to avoid that at all cost.

Assess your true abilities and skill level if you intend to carry out the renovation yourself. Be true to yourself and don’t overestimate your abilities no matter how enthusiastic you are about it. Make a bullet point list of your strengths and weaknesses in line with your project activities and evaluate it before you proceed with any work. Any mistakes that you could make along the way due to lack of skill and experience could not only cost you extra money but also undermine the safety of the property.

Not matter how great you are at renovating and DIY, consider getting a professional opinion. Seek advice on matters which you are uncertain about. Additional good practice is getting quotes from professional renovation companies or individual workers for subcontracting some of the work. It is wise to know all your options as sometimes that could mean potential savings as opposed to doing it yourself.

If you are in this business for long or if you in this business to stay, you should consider building a team of trusted professions that you can rely on. Find a good electrician, plumber, painter, cleaner etc. and maintain their contacts. There will be times when you will require additional help and expertise as well as an assisting hand if you are late on the schedule and you have an impatient client

Rely on agents when in need. While you are busy preparing for and carrying out the renovation, the agent can and will establish a network of potential buyers for you. Don’t forget that good agents are professionals and know how to approach people with a proposition. Sure this will cost you an additional $ as they will expect a commission on every sale, but this may turn out to be cheaper than you could end up spending for advertising. You will save yourself a whole load of time and effort too.

The renovation process is going to be an extremely noisy and potentially lengthy process. If you personally live in this property or it has existing tenants, we suggest for you to find an alternative temporary place to stay for the duration of the project. Property being renovated is most certainly not the ideal environment for residents.

Give it a one last thought before proceeding with the actual work. Go through the plans and schedule once again to make sure that everything is in order and nothing is missed. Go through all the necessary tools that you will require and check to confirm that you have all the materials for the job.


As already stated, renovation can be a very lengthy, stressful and difficult task. It will require a lot of strength, willpower and determination to complete. There are some things you can and should consider that could potentially ease the load and make it better experience overall.

Have a decent space to relax.

Consider the following option for stay during the project:

  • Stay with your relatives if they have a place not too far
  • Rent a caravan and park it near the property or at a nice location nearby
  • Find a nice short term rental nearby

If for whatever reason you have no other alternative but to stay at the property that you are renovating, take all the necessary steps to ensure that your immediate needs are provided for. Make sure that you have access to water, toilet, clean space to rest etc.

Also, remember not to overwork yourself. When you feel that you have exceeded your daily limit, stop for the day.

Ask your friends or family for assistance. It is very likely that this will be a very economical way of getting through the workload and you will enjoy the work more as you are surrounded by familiar faces.

Be realistic with yourself and your expectations. It is extremely easy to dream big and get a little bit carried away so you avoid overspending the budget, overstressing and being late on the set schedule.

Always keep health and safety as top priority on your activity list. No project is worth you injuring yourself of damaging your health. Don’t rush to carry out tasks which have a potential to harm you in any way and if you are unsure about something or have health concerns regarding something you see or feel during the renovation, contact a professional for an advice.

Do not try to save money on various safety equipment that may be required during the renovation. Safety is the one thing that you shouldn’t economize on. The property that you may be renovating is probably quite old and may harbor all sorts of harmful substances once you start breaking things down.

Last but not least, stay optimistic, enthusiastic and determined to do a good job!

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About the Author: Christie Morgan

I am a former Licensed Real Estate Agent that absolutely loves helping people find the home of their dreams. I also enjoy interior design, reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with my two cats.