You say your house needs a complete update–are you going to fix and flip it or hold and rent?
If you are going to hold it and rent, sometimes a squeeky-tight budget will help you keep your costs down.
I buy and fix up homes for furnished rentals. Last year we bought a nice middle-income type duplex. It had older double-paned glass windows. The Realtor said, “Of course you’re going to have to replace those windows.”
They were really dirty and the plastic frames were cracked and faded. Wait, I thought–new windows cost thousands $. Don’t want to spend that money now. Let’s just try to clean them first. I had the cleaners just scrub the heck out of those windows.
They really didn’t need replacement! New mini-blinds, sheers and curtains cover the windows. The windows are further masked outside by nice standard screens.The duplex has central heat and air. SO THE TENANTS NEVER OPEN THE WINDOWS.
Okay, someday someone will need to replace those windows, maybe me. But for now they are energy-friendly and function fine.
My renovation rules:
Before making a replacement decision, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.
Before replacing a floor surface, remove the current floor material. We just discovered pristine white Congoleum in my daughter’s kitchen. Under nasty brown shag kitchen carpet. My daughter was screaming and jumping around that kitchen in her little foreclosure house.
Another time I discovered an OAK bathroom floor under layers of beat-up linoleum tile. A little wood putty and sanding, and 3 coats of high-gloss urethane, that bathroom floor gleams. Tenants love it.
As for kitchens…NEVER TEAR OUT THOSE SOLID WOOD CABINETS, to replace them with particle board and laminate. In the kitchen, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN. Paint if you have to. Always remove those dated handles. My current fave spot for hardware–HOBBY LOBBY. You can get hand-crafted solid black iron cabinet handles for $1.50 each when they have the regular 50% off sale. New black iron handles totally change the look of old cabinets. Don’t use the handles that all landlords use, the bulk stuff from Home Depot, etc. Let your rental stand out.
If you have a bucket of money, yes, go for the rehab contractor. If you don’t, stand back and THINK. Planning is everything. Plan for a clean, charming, unique home. Charm sells. Cleanliness sells. Uniqueness sells. A cookie-cutter standard rehab will be just that. And it will only bring in standard rent.