Tips for Fixing Up Your First Home on a Budget
Homeownership can be great. If you’ve been a renter for years, it can be a big relief to know you no longer have to live with those boring white walls or ugly tiling in the bathroom. On the other hand, homeownership is a big responsibility, and if anything breaks, you can’t pass it off to your landlord. On top of that, and especially if you were buying on a budget, there might be aspects of your home that you planned to upgrade from the moment you set eyes on them. The key word there is budget though. How do you prioritize what to fix and what to leave for now, and how do you pay for any of it? The steps below can help.
Identify Your Obsession
If you can only do one or a few things to your home to start with and they are all more or less cosmetic in nature—as opposed to ensuring the structural soundness and safety of the house—choose the thing that annoys you most. Sure, updating the old kitchen appliances or ugly living room wallpaper may feel urgent, but maybe you can’t stop thinking about that awful orange shag carpet in the guest room even if you don’t go there very often. Logic says that you should choose the room you use the most but sometimes there’s an aspect of your house that just sets your teeth on edge, and it’s surprising how much better you feel once it’s gone. This can also break the inertia of not knowing where to start. Best of all, under that shag carpet, you might discover gorgeous hardwood floors, and this can give you the energy to throw yourself into further renovations.
Make a Budget
Home renovations can basically expand to fit any budget, so you’ll need to be strict with yourself. Maybe you’ll decide to do a small project each month, or you might want to save up over a few months for a bigger one, but primarily, you should not lose control of your spending. You may want to think about what various changes are worth to you and then get some estimates. Build in a margin for error since renovations often end up costing more than you expect. If you are tight on cash, you might want to take out a personal loan to cover the costs. Do some research to see if you can find an option that meets your needs and that comes with a favorable interest rate.
DIY or Professional?
There are few things, like plumbing and electricity, that are best left to professionals, but if you are motivated, you can do most cosmetic things yourself. This can save you money and make that loan go a lot further. Be realistic, though. You can teach yourself a lot from books or videos online or even have a friend help you with the process, but if you are someone who has never been handy and who loathes any kind of physical labor, it may be worth it to you to pay a professional.