You know when you watch those HGTV shows, like Fixer Upper, and it all looks really cool and fun? They buy this house that is a dump, and then they turn it into this amazing dream home. It is a really interesting process, and it all comes together so well (although if you do watch them, there is inevitably a budget snafu).
This isn’t the real deal. Well, let me restate that. If you have a huge budget and a designer and a team of people to help you implement your dreams, then perhaps it is the real deal for you.
But that isn’t the case for us. First of all, we don’t have a big budget. We bought our fixer upper at a non- fixer upper price. So we have a pretty tight budget. Second, I am not a designer and Charlie isn’t a contractor, so we don’t really know what we are doing all of the time. We also don’t have a team of people to help us. It is mostly just us, with some assistance from my parents, and the occasional workmen to do things like pour concrete and lay brick which aren’t things we are comfortable with attempting.
So before you go running out thinking you want to buy your own fixer upper & be the next Chip & Jo, here are a few things I think you should know about them.
It is really time consuming.
I mean this in any aspect that you can possibly imagine. If you don’t have a big budget, like us, then the projects can take months. You save up enough money to do one project. Then you save up enough money to do another. Also, I refuse to have too many projects going on at once. We are taking it a room at a time. Although, we currently have our kitchen cabinets painting project AND our screened in porch project going on at the same time. I messed that one up.
If we plan a project and we think it will take 2 weekends, it typically takes 3 or 4. Everything takes SO much longer than you think. Something is going to happen. If it is an outside project, it is going to rain. Our main issue has been holes in the wall. We took down a mirror, and it was glued to the wall. By the time we got it down, there were huge holes in the walls. Same thing with taking down our kitchen backsplash – enormous holes in the wall.
Besides the actual implementation, the planning is really time consuming. If you have no idea what you want, you spend a lot of time on Pinterest. And you just don’t realize the small things that can really eat into your time. I can’t even count up the amount of hours I spend looking for a kitchen sink. I really wanted a farm sink, but because of our cabinets (which we are not getting rid of), there was only 1 sink that would work. And it was backordered for months and months. So then I wanted a white undermount sink, and guess what? They are practically impossible to find (I didn’t want acrylic or cast iron). Things like finding the right sink, or the right hardware that can really be time consuming and put a halt in the project.
It is extremely expensive.
The costs associated with fixing up a home are incredible. Besides the materials, the paint, the fixtures, you also have to consider the workmen and the extras that add up. Who knew concrete was so expensive? Not me. Every project costs more than you initially budget, so I suggest having some money set aside for those extras you don’t anticipate. But my feeling is this – I want to do it right the first time, so we don’t have to redo it in a year or two. So I would rather spend a little more now, then have to do it all over again later.
It is extremely frustrating and overwhelming.
I am not great with home design. So to start, it is frustrating because I have no idea what I am doing. I spend a LOT of time on Pinterest, watching HGTV and reading HGTV magazine. But with that being said, I do know what I like. So when I see it, I know that is it. I have really been overwhelmed with the bathroom. It is a complete disaster and needs major work. But bathroom renovations are really expensive. Like, they are one of the most expensive things you can do. That is why we decided to do a mini makeover in our bathroom, instead of the gut job I want (more about mini bathroom makeovers here).
But there are a lot of things I have wanted to do, like the farm sink, that just haven’t worked out. Our budget won’t allow it, or we have to choose between one thing or another. Another good example – I despised the light fixture in the entry hall (actually I hate all of the light fixtures in the house). And I found the perfect one, but when I measured, it was really too long for our ceilings. So I had to go back to the drawing board on that one. I love the one we ended up with, but it is super frustrating having to rethink things.
Also, having to do basically the entire house is really overwhelming. Sometimes I get so caught up in how much work there is to do. I just have to stop thinking about it, and only concentrate on the project we are working on.
You have to actually live there.
This may or may not be the case for you, but we are living IN our fixer upper while we fix it up. Now, it isn’t a falling down shack, and we aren’t doing any gutting, so it isn’t the worst. But we do have to live in a some sort of construction zone all of the time. My kitchen has been a disaster since the beginning of September when we took down the backsplash because Charlie has been fixing holes in the walls, and I have been slowly working on the cabinets.
You may not have to live in your fixer upper while it is under construction, but we didn’t have an option since we knew it would be an extremely lengthy process for us (like years).
It is also really rewarding.
Finishing a project is one of the most rewarding experiences. I look at our living room now, and look at the pictures before and I am amazed at what we did. It looks like a completely different room! Every time we complete something, even if it is a small project, it is so exciting. We are always so proud of what we did!
It can be fun.
If you like home decor stuff, fixing up a house can be fun. You are getting to do what YOU want! Yes, you are working with what you have (assuming you aren’t gutting the place), but you can customize it to your desire. I want a mostly white kitchen, and I am going to have a mostly white kitchen.
So if you are considering buying a fixer upper, my suggestion would be to thing long and hard about it. Let me know if you have any questions!