Renovating a home can add a lot of value — but not if you get overwhelmed and leave it half-finished.
As the host of “Vacation House For Free,” Matt Blashaw puts his experience as a contractor and real estate expert to work renovating fixer-uppers into retreats worth renting out when the family isn’t in residence.
If you’re renovating — whether DIY-style or with a professional team — Blashaw cautions against making the most common mistake he sees: taking on too much at once.
“I see it all the time,” he tells Business Insider. “People take on way more than they can chew. The whole house is ripped up and everyone feels out of place.”
In the case of a vacation home, especially, it’s smart to recognise the limitations. “You’re not going to be there like in your regular house,” Blashaw cautions. “You only have weekends to do it.”
Instead, he recommends taking on small projects one at a time and finishing them completely before moving on to the next. Of course, depending on the scale of your renovation, “small” might mean kitchen cabinets, or it might mean the entire master bathroom.
You might also want to prioritise your projects depending on how you’ll use the home.
“The rule of standard suburban houses is kitchen is king, then bathrooms, then bedrooms,” he says.
“In vacation rentals, I think it’s a little different,” he continues. “Bathrooms can be overlooked as long as they’re clean and fresh and functional. You need to put money in the decor in the living room, in the furniture to make it comfortable and cater to possibly multiple families with a ton of seating and dining space.”
Whatever the scale, Blashaw says that checking smaller tasks off your list “creates a sense of positivity and confidence, and then you can move on to the next thing.”
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