Everybody has different preferences when it comes to style, finishes, paint, and systems. Some don’t care if the appliances are brand new as long as they work. Some want the latest and greatest.

Some buyers possess the time and money to buy a home that needs a gut renovations, so long as it is in the neighbor hood they love. Most of us simply aren’t that wealthy. If you fall in that latter category, or if you are a first time buyer, I ask this question: Can you live in the house for a year or two the way it exists now? If the answer is “yes”, then you can move in, study the house and prioritize the projects. No laws against renovating or upgrading room by room. Also, by living in the home first, you will get to understand the flow and floor plan and make smarter decisions and save money for each project.

This is where your home inspector becomes your best friend. A good inspector will be able to give you a sense of what items need to be addressed first; If the house needs a new heating system and it is coming into the winter months, you know what you have to do first. Even an “end of life” roof may have a couple of more years left. Your inspector will help you establish your priorities when it comes to repair and upkeep.

I also suggest bringing in a contractor at the same time as the home inspection. Home inspectors in Massachusetts are not allowed to give estimates on repairs and projects, while a general contractor can. This will give you a more complete picture of what living in the house will entail.

When considering how much work to do on your home, think carefully about how many years you will be living in it. If this is not your “forever” home and expect to move on within 5 years, then small, less expensive projects are the way to go. Think “Home Depot” instead of “Architectural Digest.” If, on the other hand, you want to live here for the foreseeable future, start making a list of those things you would like to do, and tackle them over a number of years.

You may have found that perfect neighborhood, but the only home available would need an addition. You may want to ask yourself “will an addition make this the biggest and most expensive house on the street?” If you answer “yes,” keep in mind that you may end up with a $2 million home on a $650,000 street, and you may not end up making your money back (unless all your neighbors put up additions, too).

For more recommendations on renovations and repairs, give us a call or use the “Get in Touch” form on the right side of the screen.