When you buy your first home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When we bought our first house, my wife and I were overwhelmed with all the changes we wanted to make. Like many, we bought a fixer-upper, and fixing up is what it needed! There were problems in every room of the house, and our first instinct was the simply gut everything. After careful consideration, we realized that this would not be the best course of action, and that we wouldn’t have money to successfully renovate the house that way anyway. In order to maximize the money we spent, and make the most of it back as equity, we had to focus on what we could do cheaply.

This required looking at each room in our house with a different perspective. Sometimes it wasn’t a whole room that was the problem, just an old bath vanity. When we started realizing this, we figured out that we could rehabilitate the whole house without having to change more than a couple of elements within most of the rooms. The bath vanity is just one example. I’ll take you through the kitchen, the bathroom, and the master bedroom, and tell you how we made the most of each, without spending a lot of money.

  • The main offender in the bathroom was an old, clunky bath vanity. This particular bath vanity looked like it was a failed attempt to create something grand and Victorian. The net result was a piece of furniture that looked like it belonged in a grandmother’s house, with a tiny sink that you could barely fit both of your hands into. It made such an impression on the room that this one bath vanity made the otherwise nice bathroom seem antiquated. When we swapped out our bath vanity for a new model, we were really happy and it transformed the whole space. We found exactly what we needed at Modern Bathroom’s selection of vanities. In the end, the whole bathroom was fixed for less than $1000, something we never thought possible.
  • We added a lot of equity to our home by converting a large “office” type room into a master bedroom. This involved knocking down a couple of walls into an adjoining storage room, but in the end, this weird shaped work room was the best bedroom in the house. Because we now had a house with 3 bedrooms instead of just 2, we added a big chunk of equity to the home. And we were able to accomplish it simply by knocking down walls, fixing the edges, and repainting. We had to get a little bit of professional help, but we did the whole project for about $1,800. We figure we netted over $20,000 in equity, our biggest equity victory yet.
  • Our kitchen took the most money to modernize and maximize in the form of equity. We had a very old stove. It still worked, but we realized that a modern stove would make the room feel like it existed in 2015. We also had no hood or ventilation above the stove so we had to spend $1,600 to have a range hood installed. From there, we spent about $5,000 total on floor repairs, extra lighting, and an island/bar in the middle of the room. But in the end you couldn’t recognize the space and the kitchen went from being a mediocre room to the best room in the house.

All told, we spent under $10,000, and we probably gained $40,000 in equity. It was a stressful time of repairs and renovations, but it worked. And it all started with the bath vanity. So if you need to make changes in your house, save money, and build equity all at once, look at the little things you can do to transform a room, rather than starting from the ground up.