Dear Allegra: I inherited a house that needs so much work. Gutters, wiring and the fuse box need to be replaced. I need new electrical fixtures and plumbing. Even the lawn work is intimidating. I’m struggling with very little money. I have to do something. Where do I start?
First things first. Lower your stress level by sitting down with a nice cup of tea and a pad and pencil. Take the problems in hand one at a time. Transfer them from your brain to paper. Writing them down creates a concrete form you can manage visually. The task will seem less pressing. I would recommend starting with correcting those things that could make the house potentially unsafe for its occupants and the neighbors such as electricity and plumbing. If there are any structural problems I would attend to those around the same time you get the house newly rewired and the plumbing corrected. A home inspection by a certified home inspection company could be helpful in pointing out the really important places to start. And, put it all in perspective: It is just a house. You can handle it.