When Bill and Maggie Wilson started their search for a new home, they knew exactly what they wanted – a run-down house with outdated interior and room for landscaping. Tucked away in the leafy neighborhood of Calgary, they found it. The Wilsons knew they could fix many of the foundation problems, with a bit of sweat, savings, and a lot of paint. In return, they transformed an old home with sparse grass into an oasis with $50,000 worth of improvements.

Buying a house can be fun, but not all homes are created equal. According to the Genworth Canada First-Time Homeownership Study, 9 out of 10 first-time buyers are millennials looking to remodel versus renting or buying brand new. Renovating is a great opportunity to use your creativity and try DIY projects. While simple changes like wall colours and cabinet tops are easy ways to improve your renovation, turning a fixer-upper into a home often involves more than that. So, before you move into your home, consider these tips to help make your investment worth it.

Determine the Actual Condition

You may be set on moving in the home while you renovate, however, it is important to consider the actual condition of the home. Is it safe to live in? Will your kids be safe? If your home is undergoing a damp issue, the level of moisture in the air may lead to mold– making it extremely dangerous to live in. Make sure to analyse the home and find accommodation elsewhere until the problem is resolved.

Financing A Fixer-Upper

While you might be able to finance small projects with credit, homeowners and buyers can apply for a loan or refinance the home. This may also include the cost of its renovations with a single mortgage. Whereas, there are construction loans that require you to  refinance into a new loan once the renovations are complete. To qualify, the home must be at least one year old with the minimal renovation cost of $5,000.

Living On-Site while You Renovate

Living in a home that requires plenty of work can be stressful for anyone. It can be difficult to determine how to live a normal life while trying to meet deadlines with your general construction manager. The first and most important thing to do is to establish a timeline. That way, you can keep track of projects and allow the work to progress, unhampered.

Lastly, if you live near family and friends, don’t be afraid to ask for help – especially when moving. Whether it may be a helping hand, using their basement for storage, babysitting or pet sitting your dog – reducing the number of distractions will allow you to focus on the most essential projects first without doing the non-essential tasks beforehand.