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Buying a home that needs love can be a great investment if you’re on a budget and willing to put in the time and elbow grease required to update it. A fixer upper can not only allow you to enter the inflated Canadian market, but create a home you truly love for an affordable price. The return on your investment can also be huge, but here’s what you need to know before you buy.

Buy one with a floor plan you already love. One of the most expensive renovations you can make is moving load-bearing walls. So, if you can avoid this, you are already ahead of the game. Find a home with a floor plan you are already happy with, and you will reduce the cost of any renovations you need to make.

Stretch your money. A little can go a long way if you invest in the right things. You will get more bang for your buck investing in higher quality prime features of the home such as luxury countertops, flooring, and energy-efficient appliances and lighting—which hold their value more than cosmetic fixes like paint, high-end kitchen cupboards and carpet.

Avoid over-customizing. Since people’s taste can vary, keeping your home design clean and simple will not only save you money now but will help with resale value later on. The more you customize the home, the higher the chance a potential buyer will be turned off by a particular detail.

Consider DIY when you can. If you have the time, and you’re really looking to save money, consider which repairs and fixes you can do yourself to save the cost of labour. There are many smaller jobs, such as painting the walls and changing cabinet hardware and fixtures, that you can easily do yourself to improve the overall look of your home.

Know the market you are in. While it might be tempting to build your dream home with all the various finishings you desire, at the end of the day, it should be in line with the market your home is in, as you won’t be reimbursed for higher-end finishings if the neighbourhood doesn’t allow for the higher market value.