Did all of those flipped houses on HGTV inspire you? A lot of people purchase an older home because they fall in love with the charm, vintage style and intricate architecture. However, restoring an old home  takes serious skill and know-how. If you’re up for the challenge, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
Start with the skeleton of the house, especially places that are hard to reach. This often includes the roof and gutters, pipes, and foundation. Roofs of all houses take a beating, especially if you live in an area with rough winters or natural disasters. If the roof hasn't been replaced in decades, it's a solid investment, one that may be forced on you sooner than you think.
Do the Not-So-Fun Stuff First
You might have visions of granite counter tops and bamboo floors. That’s great, but it doesn't mean much if the structure is crumbling around you. Hopefully you had the house checked by a professional before you made an offer. You know where the trouble spots are, and you were probably provided with a priority list.
Most people don’t have oodles of money to restore a home. Make sure you take care of the big issues first, like those pipes that will likely burst during the next winter. Restore your home from the outside in, which means replacing plumbing comes before replacing the dingy carpet on the stairs. Always put safety before beauty.
Tap Into Your Scavenging Skills
Most people want their decor to complement the house’s architecture. This is good news, since if you have a vintage home you can probably score great deals on antiques. After all, it’s just wrong to have an uber-contemporary interior in a Queen Anne. Skip the trendy, pretentious “restoration boutiques" and start looking off the grid.
Flea markets, pawn shops, garage sales, and even eBay might have a treasure trove for you. When it does come time for furniture shopping, figure out how much self-restoration you can do. A solid wood secretary from 1930 will look stunning after a little sanding and painting. Be mindful of your home’s personality, but make sure yours is in there, too.
Assess Your Own Skills
No matter how good you are at repairs, there will come a time when it’s best to leave things to a pro. This is almost always true when it comes to roofing, foundation repairs , wiring, and plumbing. If a mistake might be very costly or dangerous, play it safe. It’s good to branch out and try new things, but not for an entire house restoration project.
Most importantly, remember that this is supposed to be fun. You’re (probably) not a professional house flipper. If you do want to consider restoring houses as a career or investment, consider the pros and cons very carefully. It’s a huge project take on.