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A Guide to Remodeling a Fixer-Upper

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Buying and renovating a fixer-upper can come with plenty of challenges and rewards. Transforming an old house into the home of your dreams will take hard work, patience, and time. With the housing market today, however, finding an old house to bring back to life could be the answer to the frustrating process of searching for the perfect property.

Before you take the plunge into a fixer-upper, there are some considerations that you should be aware of. As with many things, age can take a toll on older homes. Typically, when buyers are in the market for fixer-uppers, they find houses at least 50 years old. Some people shop for historic homes that must meet strict requirements for age and significance to qualify for that designation.

Due to the age of these houses, there can be issues with any number of things, from the roof and plumbing to the HVAC system. Fortunately, most problems can be caught with a complete home inspection, but most of these houses are typically sold as is. This means that you will be responsible for all required work. If you’re considering a fixer-upper, you need to be prepared to invest whatever money it takes to make the home livable again. Let’s take a look at some tips for remodeling a fixer-upper.

Major Systems


The major systems of the home, such as the plumbing and HVAC, all make up any home’s major systems. These will be the areas where you will spend a significant amount of time and money. For much older homes, the plumbing was probably up to code at the time, but it is no longer suitable. If this is the case, you’ll need a professional plumber to assess the home and provide recommendations for plumbing needs. A plumber can also look at things such as the water heater, garbage disposal, sewer, and other things. Depending on where the house is, you can search for the “best plumber in Chicago” as an example to find a professional with years of experience. A good plumber will be a great asset when you are flipping a fixer-upper.

Depending on the age of the home, you might find that you need a completely new HVAC and duct system. When you begin the remodel of your fixer-upper, you’ll want to check for signs your HVAC system is inefficient. In some cases, it might just need a recharge or service. In other situations, the equipment might need to be replaced. A certified HVAC technician can help you diagnose any issues and help get the HVAC unit in working order.

It’ll also be a good idea to have a contractor look at the roof system to check for any damage or leaks that should be fixed. They can also assess the age of the roof and help you determine if a replacement is needed. Additionally, you’ll want to have the electrical checked to ensure that it is up to code and in working order.



Once you get into the throes of remodeling, it might be easier to take a room-by-room approach. Some homeowners can get overwhelmed when there is so much work to do. Focusing on one room at a time, however, could make the project more manageable. If you know that the master bathroom needs a new bathtub or shower and fixtures, you should consider all of that before tackling something else. If you need to replace the kitchen sink and flooring in the kitchen, don’t worry about the paint in the living room until you finish. Doing this will give you a sense of control and will turn your project into smaller achievable goals.

Buying and working on a fixer-upper can be overwhelming and could lead to a lot of hard work. However, once you take care of the main things, you can turn your fixer-upper into a dream home in no time if you focus on smaller goals.