We learned so many things while renovating an old farmhouse for resale. Our time there was a bit challenging at times, but the knowledge we took with us made our time living there totally worth it. AND the money we made when we sold it was crazy! Keep scrolling to hear my 21 money saving tips when renovating an old farmhouse for resale!
When we renovated our old farmhouse we had like no money. I mean we had money, but not for a huge renovation. So I had to get creative. Renovating an old farmhouse for resale is no small feat, and it’s pretty common for them to be packed with old home type problems like poor insulation, wet basements, and uneven floors.
But take heart! Renovating an old home for resale can prove to be very lucrative for you.
Keep in mind that you always want to make sure to fix the big ticket items that if went unfixed, would severely hurt the life of your home. Examples include:
- leaking roof
- flooding basement
- leaking windows
- soft spots in floor
- aluminum wiring
When to walk away from buying a potential house
Sometimes a house isn’t worth your time and effort due to major problems, ones that would take massive amounts of money to fix.
If you’re buying a house with the intent to flip it and sell fairly quickly, while also working your day job and not going into serious debt, then make sure you buy smart!
Problems to avoid when buying a fixer upper
- foundation issues that require a complete rebuild
- home is in a flood zone
- mould in many places
- Leaking roof that has rotted and ruined floors and walls
- structural problems that would require an engineer
- bad well or septic
- a home that needs gutted but is full of asbestos
Of course every situation is different and sometimes it makes sense to still buy a house with one of these problems if your budget or skills can support it.
It’s a personal decision what you want to invest your time and money on, just remember to factor everything into your budget to make sure you still end up with a profit when you sell!
21 money making tips ~ renovating an old farmhouse for resale:
1: Choose carpet for bedrooms instead of flooring. We decided to carpet the bedroom we renovated and keep the existing carpet in the other bedrooms instead of ripping it out. The other bedroom carpet was in amazing condition and after a shampoo they smelled great too.
This saved us so much money! Flooring is expensive but carpet isn’t if you choose a style/colour that’s in stock and affordable. Also, if your confident enough to instal it yourself you will save even more.
2: Don’t impulse buy, wait for a sale instead. Plan your renovations and ideas ahead of time, that way as you move along you can keep your eyes peeled for sales and free stuff. This can save you thousands of dollars.
3: Repainting Vs. replacing. I love painting things to bring out new life! Like when I painted our antique farmhouse doors, it brightened up the main room and added so much character to the house!
But there are some things I don’t recommend painting. Kitchen cabinets being one of them. I know, a gasp just went through the crowd. Painting kitchen cabinets is like the biggest DIY lately. I just can’t wrap my head around it in terms of quality and resale value. Buyers want to see updated, not painted, when it comes to a kitchen. At least in my area anyway!
And the time and strain scrubbing everything clean, then painting all of those nooks and corners, and making sure to add enough coats but not too many or else the cabinet doors might not close properly… it just seems like a hassle. Plus I’ve lived in a few different places with painted kitchen cabinets and without fail the paint WILL wear away and chip.
BUT there are some things I would definitely paint in my kitchen instead of buy new which leads me to my next money saving tip..
4: Use colour matched painted plywood for panels in a renovated kitchen instead of buying panels from the company you use. We gutted and renovated our farmhouse kitchen (in 10 days!). It was one of the biggest impacts of our entire farmhouse renovation! Since I did everything I could to save money, I decided to buy colour matched paint and paint plywood sheets to use as end panels for the cabinets. I even used the old kitchens panels where I could, so I didn’t have to buy so much plywood. It turned out amazing and saved us tons of money with the kitchen renovation!
*Note this end panel beside the fridge. It was from the old kitchen and I painted it!
5: Invest in your kitchen, you will make it all back I promise! I admit this is more of a money making tip and not a saving tip. BUT it’s so important to include because investing in the kitchen is one of the smartest things you can do in a house you plan to sell for profit. You don’t have to max out your areas competition with your kitchen renovation. Or buy high end appliances and fixtures.
But you do want a clean, modern feel with matching appliances and updated lighting. Add storage solutions where you can to appeal to families. Just doing these things will increase your homes value. I did my entire kitchen renovation for less than $6,000.
6: Turn random rooms and spaces into bedrooms. Our farmhouse came with an old nasty cold room on the front of it, which used to be the covered porch and main entrance to the house. (It was under the second storey and apart of the main floor, not an add on) Since our house didn’t have a dedicated entryway or mudroom I was so tempted to turn this room back into the main entrance of the home. But instead (because we knew how much better it would look on paper) we turned it into a bedroom.
Make sure when you’re doing something like this that it doesn’t go against building code. This room was included as living space when we bought the house (even though I would NEVER let anyone even in there) so it wasn’t a huge deal to turn it into actual living space.
Also make sure you follow your septics size when renovating so that you don’t max it out. That can end in an inspector calling for a bigger septic which will cost thousands of dollars.
7: Buy good quality windows used or new from contractors. Contractors always have leftovers from jobs so this really can apply to anything. But for windows specifically, we’ve always had good luck buying from a contractor because many times the windows are new or the “old” ones they took out aren’t actually old, the customer just wanted to upgrade.
8: Buy pallets or skids of supplies on auction sites. I’ve had such good luck with this! You can buy anything on online auction sites! We’ve bought tools, supplies, decor and furniture. All were new, they were just returned for various reasons.
9: Make your own art for your home. Making your own art is actually quite simple, and there’s an unlimited amount of ideas and inspiration on platforms like pinterest! For the farmhouse I chose to keep it simple and do mainly macrame and wooden signs.
Making your own art saves so much money and you get to choose exactly what you want.
10: You don’t have to gut a bathroom to make it beautiful. Sometimes all a bathroom needs is a refresh. Paint, new hardware, new caulking, and some white towels. Of course you can go more in depth like adding wallpaper or wainscotting, just make sure it’s something that adds value. If the home will sell for the same amount without putting in the extra work and money, I would say opt out.
11: Work your design around the mistint paint section. Check out your local hardware stores mistint paint section. Sometimes you can score amazing colours! Be willing to be flexible with your design, a few shades off from the grey you dream of is still grey to potential home buyers. And in general, as long as the tones are neutral, buyers will overlook the paint colour.
12: Use a dresser as the bathroom vanity. I’ve done this myself AND watched how well it worked for other members of my family who have renovated their bathrooms and used dressers as a vanity. The dresser doesn’t have to be an antique, although using an antique works so well for that farmhouse vibe!
13: Add storage using leftover wood. Make some floating shelves, picture shelves, a simple side table and more with leftover wood from your renovation. It ends up being pretty much free and gives your home more texture and layers. It’s also appealing to the buyer who will see even more storage.
14: Always buy used tile. This one is kind of like the mistint paint usage. You have to be willing and flexible on design. All of the tile I used in our farmhouse bathroom renovation was bought used. I knew I wanted a dark grey floor tile, and a white wall tile. As long as I could get them to match with my design and be cohesive, I was willing to buy anything that fit in these categories.
I ended up getting all of my wall and floor tile for under $350 CA! (that’s $275 American)
15: Rub white paint on dated appliances.. let me explain. Our fridge was pretty dated in our farmhouse, but we didn’t want to buy another one. The handles were a yellow colour which is what made it look so dated. So to help improve the aesthetic I put some white paint on a rag and rubbed it onto the handles of the fridge and freezer. Rubbing it in made it much less obvious that I had painted them and also prevented it from chipping or wearing down because it was rubbed into the texture of the handles. You can do this for older dishwashers and other appliances that have that older yellow colour on the plastic parts.
16: Switch to energy saving WARM WHITE lighting. This colour of lighting can transform a space! It brings out paint colours beautifully and also saves you money by naturally beautifying a space. (and saves you money in energy bills)
17: Accent walls will save you time and money
You can cover up anything with an accent wall. Like this baton style high wall I did in our bathroom. This wall was full of holes and broken drywall. Instead of re drywalling, mudding, sanding, and painting, we chose to do this accent wall. It really adds so much charm and depth to the room.
18: Deep cleaning will transform the space. Sometimes a home doesn’t need anymore paint, or furniture, or art. Maybe it needs a really good scrub down and fresh air to give it new life. Trust me, your home will look different even if you dedicate just a couple hours scrubbing walls and baseboards!
19: Power wash decks and only replace necessary boards
Just because the deck is gross and slimy doesn’t mean it needs to be ripped out and replaced! First try power washing it and replacing any boards that need to be replaced. We did this with our back deck and it looked amazing afterwards!
20: Simple landscaping can be done for almost free. Some things you can do to improve your landscape are;
- clear debris
- pull weeds
- prune trees
- clear away all garbage and clutter
- create flower beds with divided perennials from friends and family
- collect large rocks from your property if you have them to create flower bed walls and pathways
- wash off large rocks, driveway asphalt, and the garage door
21: Spruce up your front porch. You can save money sprucing up your front porch by giving it a good deep clean, power washing the deck or concrete steps, using leftover paint to repaint the front door trim, and adding a homemade wreath to the door. You can also decorate using free material like potted perennial flowers, cut branches painted, dried fruit, or a hand painted mat.
Do you have any money saving tips for renovating an old farmhouse for resale? Let me know in the comments!
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Check out my complete farmhouse tour! Full Tour Of Our 100 Year Old Renovated Farmhouse
Great tips! Especially about the “when to walk away”. I have a few to add to my list next time we buy! lol
yes! I have a few extras that i didnt include, they are personal preferences of mine.
I love all these tips and will keep this list on hand. We’re not selling but most of these tips will work for anyone!
Im glad you’re able to benefit from this!
Great money saving tips for renovators and house flippers! I can definitely appreciate all the experience you’re sharing here for us to profit from! (when it’s so easy to lose money)
Thankyou! I believe these “house hacks” and secret deals people score shouldnt be a secret! House flipping can be so lucrative if its done right and at the right time! Thanks for reading through my post!
Wow great detailed list! Our last house we completely gutted, but did so on a budget. Thankfully a local big box store was closing near us so we purchased everything for the bathroom at a steep discount. We also found great deals on windows and wooden stair treads and rails at a local building supply outlet. Its amazing how much you can save if you do some digging around to find deals. Best part was nothing was damaged or anything just way cheaper than if we had bought it at a regularly priced store.
I love deals! and yes youre right it is amazing the deals you can get with effort, and the results are always beautiful!
Great tips! I’m not sure how many of the “things to avoid” we got stuck with yet, but we got an amazing deal on our old farmhouse so hopefully it’s worth it. Just need the weather to cooperate so we can get started…
Id love to see pics!! old farmhouses are so beautiufl
Mortgage Broker Inner West says
Thank you for sharing this blog. I love it.
Thanks for commenting Im so glad you enjoyed it!