Once you find a house, it can be tempting to tear into it and make all of the updates you've been studying on home improvement shows. However, not every home will lend itself to open concept renovations. You need to keep an eye on your budget, your daily needs and your eventual goals for the house. You also need to make sure you don't price yourself out of the market.

Start Small

Freshen what you can with the quickest form of an update. For example, if the bedrooms are damaged from a water leak in the ceiling, you'll need to fix the roof before anything else can happen. If the same rooms are just dingy, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, clean the windows, put up new blinds, and replace or clean the carpeting. If at all possible, do this before you move in. Tearing up flooring while you live in the space is dusty, dirty and can be dangerous to anyone with asthma or allergies.

Take the time to do these small projects right. In addition to painting the room from the ceiling down, go to the effort to paint the inside of the closets for a fresh, clean feeling when you put your clothes away. Consider replacing ceiling fans, or pulling and painting the blades. Remove electrical plates and wash them carefully before putting them back up, or replace them if they're damaged or the screws are rusty.

Focus On What's Broken

Fix big leaks. Get a plumber out to assess any sign of water damage and make sure that all water lines and drains are flowing safely. Carefully review the condition of the roof. Before you buy, try to check out the house on a rainy day and listen for drips while you look for leaks. While it's raining, walk around the outside of the house to see where water pools and if the guttering is running free.

Change the HVAC filters and call out an HVAC repair technician to clean and service the system. If you can, be there when they clean the heat exchanger. If this unit is dirty and dusty, you may need your ducts cleaned. Finally, install a carbon monoxide detector and put up smoke detectors.

Lay Some Groundwork

Your first renovation projects may be quite expensive, especially if you're replacing windows or running new plumbing lines for another bathroom. While you've got walls open or are considering digging around the foundation, install items that are focused on your comfort and security, such as an anti-scalding water routing system. A plumbing services expert can help you find the right system. This is critical if you're planning on starting a family.

Finally, remember that the renovation process never actually stops. If you paint the bedrooms, the hall will look dingy. If you renovate the kitchen, your dining area may feel small and cramped. Work in small batches or spaces to avoid trying to live in a damaged, messy house for an extended period of time. Don't start big projects on Sunday afternoon if you have to work on Monday. Don't book up all of your weekends and evenings with renovation projects; you'll just come to resent the home you were so excited to buy. The most important renovation step is taking the time to figure out what's really bugging you about the house.

Renovate from the ceiling down. At the end of each working day, put away tools and sweep the space to avoid tracking dust and debris throughout the house. At the end of the project, have a small ribbon-cutting ceremony and enjoy some time off!

Author's Bio: 

Katie earned a BA in English from WWU and loves to write. She also adores hiking in redwood forests and photography. She feels happiest around a campfire surrounded by friends and family.