9 Tips For Moving Into And Fixing A Fixer-Upper Home

Moving into a new home can be a stressful endeavor for anyone. However, when that new home also happens to be a fixer-upper, the process can quickly become overwhelming. As the new homeowner unlocks the front door for the first time, the peeling wallpaper, outdated fixtures, and other issues that will need addressing may leave them wondering if they have made a huge mistake.

In that moment, as the homeowner looks around at the work ahead, they may question whether this fixer-upper can really be turned into their dream home. If that homeowner is you, there is no need to fret! With the right attitude and some practical tips, you can slowly but surely transform the space into something you are proud of. No matter the condition, every home has potential.

Do a Thorough Inspection

Before finalizing the purchase, hire a professional home inspector to identify any major defects or safety issues. Look out for problems like termites, mold, plumbing leaks, roof damage, foundation cracks, etc.

Schedule the inspection during the contingency period so you can back out if issues are uncovered. Attend the inspection so you can understand the problems first-hand. Also, check if the home complies with local building codes. Doing your due diligence upfront will prevent nasty surprises down the road.

Make a Realistic Budget

Add up the projected costs for repairs, renovations, materials, labor, etc. Get multiple detailed quotes from licensed contractors for each major project, like the roof, foundation, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems. An expert will have the necessary programs for estimations, like roof measuring or HVAC takeoff software. Also, material expenses can add up quickly, so research options like salvaging and reusing materials or sourcing recycled fixtures.

When considering the logistics of your move, it’s also crucial to factor in moving and storage expenses. Opting for reputable services such as 495 Movers Inc. can provide transparent pricing, ensuring you stay within your budgetary constraints for this part of the process.

Include a 10-20% buffer in your budget for unforeseen expenses and contingencies that often come up in moving.

Hire Experienced Contractors

Find licensed, insured, and bonded contractors with expertise in the types of projects you need to be done. Check references from previous clients and read online reviews. Verify that contractors have active licenses and insurance. Get a detailed contract with specific project timelines, expectations, warranty information, and payment schedules.

Oversee the work closely and have progress inspections done before approving payment installments. Pay fairly but hold back a percentage until the end to ensure work quality and timely project completion. Build rapport and communicate regularly with the contractors.

Pack and Store Items Strategically

To limit damage from dust and debris, pack away valuables like artwork, electronics, heirlooms, and any other similar belongings before work begins. Label boxes by room so items are easy to access later. Consider renting an offsite storage unit to house furniture, out-of-season items, and belongings not needed during the renovation.

Keep clothes, toiletries, medications, and other daily necessities together in one room to simplify living out of boxes. Unpack room by room as renovations are completed. Proper packing and storage will streamline your move and allow the contractors to work freely without your belongings getting in the way.

Make Temporary Arrangements

While the kitchen or bathrooms are being renovated, setting up temporary alternatives such as a portable countertop oven, hot plate, microwave, and basic dishes can help with cooking. Hang plastic sheeting and set up temporary room dividers to control dust in living areas.

Set up a temporary laundry area with a washing machine that hooks up to the kitchen sink if needed. Take photos before walls are demolished to help with reconstructing the layout, wallpaper patterns, etc. Plan where to eat, sleep, bathe, and live during each phase of the work. With some creativity, you can maintain normalcy and comfort.

Update Utilities and Services

Contact utility companies to transfer or activate services like electricity, gas, water, and internet on your move-in date. Have accounts for cable TV, phone, and security systems transferred to your name. Mail a change of address form to the post office so you don’t miss your mail.

Update your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance policies with the new address. Change your address with banks, employers, schools, and other institutions. Make sure utilities are ready the moment you move in to avoid any inconveniences.

Clean Thoroughly Before Moving In

Do a deep clean of the entire home before moving in belongings. Wash walls and floors, sanitize bathrooms and kitchen, vacuum, dust, wipe down surfaces, and even arrange for pest control if necessary before the family moves in.

It will provide a clean slate for your possessions, making it easier to spot leaks or issues later, while services like attic rodent removal or pest control will ensure you enter a hygienic home free from any unwanted intruders who could cause you trouble.

Moreover, consider replacing old carpets and drapes that may harbor dust, allergens, or bugs. Install new HVAC air filters and have ducts cleaned professionally. Thorough cleaning gives peace of mind that the home is fresh for your family and furniture.

Make One Room a Liveable Oasis

Select one room, like a bedroom, to remain functional while other rooms are under renovation. Keep this space clean and dust-free for sleeping, getting ready, and temporary living. Furnish it simply but comfortably. Add an air purifier, rugs, and soft furnishings to make it peaceful.

Having an escape from the construction chaos will help you maintain your sanity. Use it as a clean zone to take refuge in when the rest of the home is torn up. This will make the renovation period much more bearable.

Be Flexible and Patient

Renovating a fixer-upper will not go 100% according to plan. Be mentally prepared for inconveniences, delays, and problems along the way. Maintain clear communication with your contractors and inspectors. Be willing to compromise and make changes when needed.

Keep the end goal in mind, and know that your efforts will pay off in your dream home.


Moving into and renovating a fixer-upper home is a major undertaking but also an immensely rewarding experience since you’ve finally bought a home for yourself and your family. If you do your homework, make detailed plans and preparations, and stay flexible when challenges arise, you’ll wind up with a comfortable and customized home perfectly suited to your lifestyle. With some strategic fixes and upgrades, you can transform your diamond-in-the-rough into a polished gem.


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