With Fixer Upper being all the rage, everyone wants to have their chance to be Joanna and Chip. I mean let’s be real, they are amazing and perfect and make it look SOOOO easy!!! But, before you run out and buy the worst house on the block, I thought I might share a few tips from someone who is living in her dream fixer upper that wasn’t always so nice and still needs a lot of work.
When the opportunity arose to purchase our 2nd home, my husband and I jumped on it. I mean we knew all there was to fixing a house up and it would be a piece of cake (just kidding – we were a bit more realistic but still very naive)! We jumped right in and spent our summer working our butts off to make this house, that was basically falling apart, our new home. After going through it, here are a few tips I would give anyone thinking about making the plunge into the fixer upper world!
You will go over budget
When we first decided to purchase our home, we spoke with a family member that is a contractor. He told us what he thought it would cost to make the house livable. We spent almost double what he first told us. Things will pop up. We never expected the entire sewer to be in terrible shape and would have to replace it. We didn’t know the gas lines had leaks that had to be replaced. We knew the visual things that needed to be fixed, but so much pops up when you really get started. Just take my advice and budget more than you think it will cost. Best case scenario, you save money!
Your relationship will be tested
There were many days I thought I would lose my mind on my husband. With so much pressure on both of us to get the house done and livable, there were many fights. You will both at one point think you know exactly how to complete one project and someone will have to give. I remember one day I was so angry about who knows what that I stormed out and went home without saying a word. I left him, the kids, and a whole bunch of paint and ran!! Looking back it seems so silly, but in the moment, I was stressed beyond belief and just wanted to be in our house. Stay strong and constantly remind yourselves of the end result. Our relationship is so much stronger after going though this together, but I am not going to lie … It ain’t easy!!!
It’s not as fun and luxurious as it seems
In our case, we hired people to do the major things that we knew we couldn’t handle (plumbing, sheet rocker, tilers, etc.), but otherwise we did most of it on our own. I have painted every inch of my home and I have the battle wounds to prove it. It wasn’t a 5 minute scene on tv. It was months of painting. It was paint covered hair and clothes, sore arms and legs, and oh so much time. We have a lot of exposed brick that I wanted to be white (hello – I am a Joanna Gaines wanna be). Little did I know, the spray painter that I thought would make my life easier didn’t get inside of the deep brick grooves and I ended up using a small hand brush to paint ALL of the brick. Yep, by the end I was crying, cursing, and smiling because it was gorgeous all at the same time.
You probably won’t be done when you are done
Even though our fixer upper is now livable, it is far from done. We still don’t have a mantle, a hood for our stove, or even decorations (let’s be real – we can’t all raid Magnolia Market for decor). We still have kitchen floors that need to be replaced, old windows, makeshift mirrors in the bathrooms. I also have major dreams of the outside of our house being white with beautiful black shutters, but right now we are stuck with the lovely pink brick and green shutters that have been there since 1970, and that is okay. In time, it will all come!
It is so worth it
Do your research and make sure the house has good bones. Make sure it is deep down a great home and go for it. As I sit in my beautiful white living room, I cry knowing all the hard work that was put into making this our home. We now have a new place to raise our children and call home. It still has a ways to go, but it is ours and it was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into it!