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First-time Home Buyer

First-time Home Buyer: Q&A with Mike Holmes

mike holmes renovation
mike holmes renovation

“It will cost you more to get it fixed and redone than if you had hired the right pro for the job in the first place. Trust me,” says Mike Holmes.


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What are your top tips for first-time buyers?

a. This is the most significant purchase you will likely make, so invest wisely. 

b. Do your research! Check out the builders, especially with new builds

c. Get a home inspection, particularly if it’s an older home

d. Check for outstanding permits, especially if any area has been “newly renovated,” like the kitchen and bathrooms

e. Watch out for “flips.” Homeowners that haven’t been in the home for very long and flashy upgrades that could be hiding more serious issues

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What do most first-time buyers overlook when renovating their first home?

Most first-time buyers make the mistake of wanting to upgrade their bathrooms or install a new kitchen or new flooring before having a good understanding of the condition of their home.

I always suggest homeowners renovate their homes from the outside in. This means making sure your roof, siding, windows and doors, and basement/foundation are all in good shape before you start spending all your savings on finishing or renovating your basement only to find out that it has some serious water issues.

This leads to mold, rot and unhealthy indoor air. It’s also vital to ensure your home’s electrical is in good working order and can handle your home’s draw capacity.

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What should homeowners know before committing to large DIY projects?

There are a lot of handy homeowners that can tackle many DIY projects, but it’s essential to:

a) understand the scope of the project

b) understand your handy person’s limitations 

c) don’t attempt any work that involves structural changes, electrical, plumbing, or HVAC installation (that means anything that requires a permit!)

In other words, don’t start a project that you won’t be able to finish or have little or no experience in doing – leave this for the pros. It will cost you more to get it fixed and redone than if you had hired the right pro for the job in the first place. Trust me. 

But homeowners can do things like installing programmable thermostats, adding smart switches that control your lights, and a smart leak detector that sends notifications to your phone if there is a leak, for example. By installing smart devices like these, you will be able to control everything from an app on your phone and/or a hub and save some money on your energy bills, too!

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Where should first-time homebuyers start when renovating their first home?

Assuming you’ve inspected the exterior of your home and it is in good condition, then you should examine what you want to upgrade and what will provide added value to your home. Is this your forever home? If so, then I suggest you renovate wisely and consider adapting for the future, with wider doors on the main living level, a curbless shower with grab bars and shower bench, and laundry on the main level, to name a few improvements.

Renovating the kitchen and bathroom are always good options to add value to your home, but also consider durable flooring throughout and heated floors in the bathrooms. Don’t forget about a home office, which has once again become an essential room in the home.

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