How To Prioritize Which Part Of The House To Fix First

Even before finalizing the closing process to complete the purchase of a house, home buyers are already picturing how they intend to fix and renovate the place in their minds.

In fact, it’s not that far fetched to suggest that these thought began from the very first time they visited the house for a viewing.

Since a lot of adults dream about living in that dream home, it’s understandable that remodeling is something on top of their minds.

But before you get those dream lighting fixtures installed and the beautiful wallpapers pasted, here are some stuff you might want to prioritize first.

Or else you could very well run out of budget leaving the things that REALLY matter untouched.

1) Safety

Safety is one of those things that can leave us sighing at what has to be done.

Some things we rather not do, but simply have to do it anyway because of safety issues.

For example, an electrical outlet near the basin can be so convenient for the hair-dryer while you are putting on the makeup getting ready to go out. But any sane adult should know that it is never a safe setup unless it’s a GFCI receptacle.

Even if you have always been a safety-first kind of individual and cannot see yourself electrocuting yourself, there’s always the danger that someone else isn’t. Especially if we are talking about children.

Some hazardous areas to look into include:

  • Stair including the railings
  • Windows that are not child-proofed
  • Insufficient power points
  • etc

And don’t just look at the short term. If there’s anything I’ve learned in home inspections, it’s that it almost always pays off to get long term solutions implemented.

2) Structural problems

Even if a civil and structural engineer can guarantee the safety of a building, how much peace of mind can you sleep with when the walls are slated and floor sloped?

Anyway, an engineer cannot possibly guarantee that.

What can be guaranteed is that structural problems will only get worse over time. A house does not have an immune system than can heal itself.

If anything, you are the Doctor who is responsible for nursing it back to health.

When structural issues are discovered, rectifying them should be one of your top priorities.

3) What goes on outside the house is more critical than inside

You can sure execute a kitchen design to resemble a fairytale appearance. But it probably won’t last a couple of months if the house’s exterior is not protecting the interior from water and moisture.

A beautiful interior only makes sense when it is protected by dependable exterior.

This means that the roof, plumbing, exterior siding, foundation, etc, need to be fixed first before you move on the the living room and other living spaces.

4) Think long term savings

It could be hard to imagine. But you could very well live in the house for 20 years and beyond.

This automatically means that you have 20 years of upkeeping costs to fork out over the time period.

The variable costs of maintaining the house will be the critical factor that determines how much you eventually spend.

One of such is the expense of utilities.

This is why there is such a huge wave going on right now with households going green and energy efficient.

I’ve found that the metaphor with buying shoes holds true with houses as well.

You can buy a cheap pair for $25 and get by. But it won’t last you 3 months. And if you get a high quality one for $150 from the start, it can last you years and still look just as new as it age gracefully.

I can understand if you are working within a budget. But if you can afford it without getting too uncomfortable, consider using superior systems that are above average.

For example, a furnace that is inefficient will cost you more money over the years than if you are to replace it now with a new one with high tech energy efficient capabilities.

I also want to make a mention about insulation. Homeowners don’t always give it a lot of thought. But bad insulation will just require the heating and cooling system to work harder. And therefore spiking your utilities bills.

It worthwhile to just get the insulation fixed from the beginning.

5) Don’t just focus on cosmetics

The bathroom and kitchen are the most popular places in the house where new owners go crazy with facelifts to achieve aesthetic goals.

Coincidentally, these are also two of the rooms at home that has the most hardware under the hood.

If you are going to overhaul these 2 areas, seriously consider upgrading the electrical and plumbing within the walls too.

The same goes with the basement.

Real estate investors and flippers can often dedicate the greater portion of their budgets on cosmetics. But please do not take that as a guideline to follow. They see fixer-uppers as products and don’t live in it themselves.

6) Building code

Especially with old houses, as homeowners take residence in it for decades, a lot of modifications might have been done on the property.

And some of them could be contrary to building code standards.

While it is effectively you decision make whether to follow the rules of building. Just be aware that there are consequences for ignorance… or plain negligence.

The best practice is to check whether the main critical areas are going by the book. And if not, your renovations should rectify these problems.