Don’t overlook that fixer-upper — these makeovers prove you can turn any property into a gem.
When you’re looking to buy a home in a heated market with low inventory, you often have to consider properties that wouldn’t normally be on your list. These are the homes that are politely referred to as “fixer-uppers,” encompassing everything from ‘80s time capsules to homes that need a lot of TLC.
Though home makeover shows make the process look easy, it’s difficult to see past the aesthetic challenges when you’re looking at the listing (let alone when you’re touring the home in person). If you don’t have a team of designers at your command, the following YouTubers are the next best thing. Each is a real-life homeowner (or design pro) who has renovated, redesigned, or impressively reimagined a property — and reveals what it takes to get to that amazing “after.”
Great for: Anyone who wants to see a falling-apart home become livable again.
This YouTuber has a few renovations under his belt, but his tiny house is the most complete in this series. To say that this home was beyond help is an understatement — but it was a budget-friendly buy at only $12,000 (closing costs included). While the project might be beyond your DIY comfort level, it’s proof that every home has potential. For a more in-depth look at the process, watch through the whole playlist.
House of Valentina
Great for: First-time homeowners, suburban home buyers, and anyone facing a dated ‘80s or ‘90s home.
The focus is on interiors for this makeover, which started with a very-80s home virtually anyone looking in the suburbs will encounter. This YouTuber brought a modern aesthetic that served to highlight the surprisingly good architectural features that you’d never notice underneath all those dated design choices.
Great for: First-time homeowners, getting small space ideas, and those who don’t want to commit to construction. This channel is also great for sellers looking to do their own staging.
Even if you’re looking for a much bigger home, there’s something clever to learn from this YouTube design pro’s channel. This 250-square-foot studio makeover is a case study in how to rethink small rooms: Focus on the space's function rather than the type of furniture you’ll bring into the space. See something you particularly like in a room? Alexandra’s makeovers also include a list of everything she bought or used.
Great for: Curb appeal inspiration, suburban homebuyers, and those who are considering a major renovation.
The Austin Flipsters channel feels like a mini-HGTV. These pros have dozens of renovations under their belts — and, more importantly, understand the power of video production value. Each video gives you a before-and-after, along with a good explanation of the challenges that came up along the way. If you’re considering houses in need of major TLC, you’ll get a good understanding of how to make it all happen. If you’re watching for fun, you’ll come away with a great “eye” for curb appeal and rethinking floor plans.
Great for: Old house inspiration, townhouses, and those who gravitate towards a more traditional style.
From a design perspective, redoing an older home that already has interesting architectural features is a bit easier. The actual challenge? How to incorporate more modern elements without making the interiors feel out of place. William’s DIY renovation of his Victorian home is an excellent example of balancing old and new, resulting in a timeless look. For a closer look at a few key rooms, check out the full playlist.
Great for: Old house inspiration on a major (mansion) scale.
It seems that every town has “that” home: A rambling house that was once grand but fell into disrepair. That’s the home that Kaylah bought, in the form of an 1870s Italianate mansion. Watch along as Kaylah reveals room-by-room before-and-afters, along with fun finds (like a hidden patio). The emphasis is on the renovation, not restoration, and bringing one’s personal style into a space in unexpected ways.
Great for: First-time homebuyers, suburban homebuyers, and DIY-savvy buyers on a budget.
The advice of how it’s better to buy the worst house in the best location is true. Yet, the worst house can often have the worst issues. This YouTuber encountered many of the issues a renovation can have: Little to no natural lighting, zero curb appeal, tiny rooms, plumbing issues, and a wall-to-wall carpet that could best be described as “mold green.” This channel goes room-by-room to reveal surprisingly stylish budget-friendly DIYs to all those issues — check out the full playlist to see.
In the end, what keeps many from purchasing a fixer-upper isn’t necessarily the fact that the home needs work. Instead, it’s the challenge of envisioning what the “after” will be. If these YouTube videos convinced you to consider a fixer-upper, take the next step by starting your home search now. Maybe you’ll even end up starting your own YouTube channel in the process.
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Fixer-upper or not, if you're thinking about buying a home this spring, let's start your search.