Top 10 Tips for Fixing Up and Equipping a Second Home

by on February 15th, 2011
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Sure, it seemed like a good idea: buy a second home. You know, a little weekend getaway not too far from your primary residence. A place to really unwind. But, that was before you figured out this little treasure needed more TLC than you originally thought. Not to mention furniture and everything else you need to make a home functional. Sure, you could take it slow. Or, you could transfer all the junk you have in your basement into your second home. Better still, you could spend big bucks and buy new, all the way around. But, none of these solutions hold much promise. After all, you wanted this house to be the perfect weekend getaway, not a repository of your primary residence’s cast offs or a money pit you’ll live to regret.

Looking for practical ways to bring your second home up to par? Don’t want your perfect getaway to break the bank? Check out these Top 10 Tips for Fixing up a Second Home. Sure to make your new home the perfect weekend retreat for everyone in the family.

1. Do an inventory of what needs to be done. Your home inspection report is a good place to start. What needs to be repaired or replaced? What needs to be painted or stained? Putting together a full inventory of what you have and what you need to do or bring into the home will help you develop a game plan for your second home going forward. Once you have your game plan, you can figure out how to pace these projects over time.

2. Repair or replace your home’s main systems. In terms of prioritizing your second home project list, it’s important to start with the home’s main systems, like plumbing, electric, HVAC, and more. Your second home may need some basic TLC, like some rewiring, but it’s a worthwhile investment that will pay big dividends down the line.

3. Paint Interior and exterior walls and outbuildings. The cheapest way you can fix up your second home is to paint what needs to be painted. Nothing makes a home pop like a fresh coat of paint in your desired color scheme. You can do it yourself or call the pros.

4. Stain interior and exterior surfaces. Don’t neglect cabinets and decks. By washing and staining these wooden surfaces today, your second home becomes an almost-new retreat destination tomorrow. Of course, you can do it yourself or call the pros.

5. Use existing furniture. If your second home comes furnished, use what you can to get through the first couple of years. Later, you can replace these items. Of course, take the time to carefully inspect and clean upholstered furniture and other items. Discard furniture that’s beat up or damaged from water, pets and more.

6. Use existing flooring and rugs. If your second home features wooden or linoleum floors, carpets and rugs, use what you can to get through the first couple of years. Later, you can replace these items. Of course, take the time to carefully inspect and clean these items. Remove and replace flooring and rugs that are soiled, moldy, water or pet damaged.

7. Buy all new mattresses and bedding. It’s important to have adequate mattresses and bedding in your second home. Visit your local mattress store for deals and discounts on multiple mattresses and frames. Be sure to cover mattresses with mattress pads and covers, as needed. These items are essential in keeping your mattresses and bedding protected while you are away. Check out Sleepy’s, Mattress Warehouse or another dealer in your area. Save additional money by picking up and delivering these items yourself.

8. Invest in discount window treatments. But, don’t cover all your windows and doors if you don’t need to. Attend to the must-cover areas and work from there.

9. Don’t subscribe to cable or satellite television. For the first few months, until you get a feel for how often you’ll be visiting your second home, don’t invest in cable or satellite television. This will save you from having to pay two cable or satellite television bills each month. Rather, buy a mid-priced antenna (about $14 to $50) from your local Radio Shack or electronics store. This may give you the equivalent of basic cable without having to pay a hefty monthly fee. Play your favorite DVDs for more savings down the line.

10. Have all your mail forwarded to your primary residence. This will save you the cost of a mailbox or keep unread mail from piling up at your secondary residence, a sure sign to thieves that no one’s home.


Do It Yourself

National Association of Remodeling Industry

This Old House


Martha Stewart Living

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