I bought my house almost exactly 1 year ago. It is a 40 year old home with a finished basement. It has been a rental for the past 20 years. The place was pretty beat up, but it was mainly cosmetic, the structure of the house is very strong. This is my wife and my 2nd home, and the one that we want to have our kids grow up in, so we wanted to make this home just the way we wanted. We purposefully picked a home that needed a lot of work because in looking at homes, the ones that had been recently remodeled just were not done the way we would have liked.
Since buying the house I have
Completely torn out the kitchen removing all appliances, linoleum and sub floor.
Had the kitchen rebuilt with custom cabinets, new hardwood, and rewired for new lights.
Gutted all 3 bathrooms, once again down to sub floor, and rebuilt with new tile, slate floors, cabinets and fans.
Removed wood paneling from basement, and put up wallboard.
New baseboards, trim, and crown molding.
Painted the exterior.
Refinished all upstairs wood floors (White Oak)
Installation of new Electrical Panel.
Had all plumbing replaced. (this was one we missed while purchasing, the pipes were rusting)
My strategy in all this, which I learned while working on my first home was, I will do all manual labor. Demolition is my specialty. I will never pay a contractor their costly fees to swing a sledgehammer, or pull up a floor. I can do that stuff, and its fun. I will also do much of the structural stuff. Framing a new wall. Hanging dry wall. Cutting and hanging molding. but I bring in professionals for mudding and taping of drywall, installation of counters, and all things involving electricity more complex than rewiring an outlet plug. I have found that you can save significant dollars doing these things yourself, but you need the right contractor. We are now almost completely done, and all I have left is patching nail holes and painting. It has been a long year, with almost every night after coming home from work spent working on some little project or another. The main up sides are, our house is very close to being just the way we wanted it, and I’ve now got some cool tools.
Next year, it’s on to the yard.