A Queen-Anne-style fixer-upper sounds like a dream: original woodwork, period details, hand-carved mantles or molding. But a dream can quickly dissolve into a nightmare when you step on a rusty nail, put your hand through a window or fall off a roof. It's better to be well-prepared and informed before starting a project than to face an injury during it. Here you’ll find safety advice and quick tips for new house-flippers, including proper gear, procedures and legal documents for Lake Tahoe or Incline Village real estate owners.
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1. Lead Paint Procedures

According to the EPA, houses built before 1978 are much more likely (than those built after) to have lead paint, which can cause serious health problems. Before renovating, take steps to protect yourself from hazardous lead-contaminated dust. Seal off contaminated areas with plastic sheeting and tape, including air vents, windows and doorways. Turn off forced air systems before beginning, and spray water on lead-painted surfaces to keep dust from spreading.

2. Dust Mask

Wearing a dust mask, or “Particulate Respirator,” will protect home renovators from potentially dangerous dust entering their respiratory tract. These disposable masks can be bought in bulk packs from Home Depot, and should be used while grinding, sanding, sweeping or bagging.

3. Tablet with Wi-Fi or 3G

This seems like a funny thing to include within home improvement stuff, but a tablet will be a lifesaver. Load up your iPad Air 2 with apps like a level and tape measure. Upload your tunes or stream from Pandora to keep you entertained, and download YouTube for when you need a visual tutorial to DIY fix that faucet. Use the camera app to take pictures and share your house progress on social media. Once the house is ready to put on the market again, use the ZipRealty or Trulia apps to view comps in the area so you know what price to set yours. If you don't have Wi-Fi installed at the house, a subscription for 3G service will help you remain connected the whole time.

4. Protective Gear

Knee pads, goggles and gloves will also be indispensable while flipping a house. Knee pads protect knees from injury or discomfort while working long hours on all fours to refinish wood floors. Goggles protect eyes and face from flying sparks and dust while grinding or sanding. And heavy-duty gloves protect hands from cuts, scrapes and splinters that result from rusty nails or rough wood.

Boots will never run out of uses on a work site. Rubber rain boots protect feet and lower legs from water as well as from loose nails, screws, splinters, or other debris left around the house. Boots with sawtooth rubber soles are best for construction as they increase traction during the wettest conditions.

5. Voltage Tester

The number of tools to buy before flipping a house may seem overwhelming at first, but there are a few essential tools that keep workers safe for a very affordable price. A non-contact voltage tester comes in handy when pulling out or rewiring electrical outlets or switches. With this tool, renovators test for live electrical currents without touching any wires or plugging in anything. Alternatively, renovators could plug a hair dryer or blender into an electrical outlet and turn it on before shutting off circuit breakers to test which breaker operates the outlet. When the noise stops, you’ll know the outlet is dead.

6. Stud Finder

Another small tool, a stud finder, is also useful to home renovators to safely hang shelves or cupboards. Stud finders can be found at hardware stores, like Lowe's for example. They indicate where a wall stud is located behind drywall so that heavy material can be screwed into solid wood instead of into only drywall, which could potentially crumble and come crashing down.

7. Legal Documents

Do yourself a favor now by creating an organizational system for all documents related to your house. An accordion binder or scanner and electronic file system will work great. This is useful to keep bids from contractors, receipts, warranty information, purchase agreements, loan documents, and inspection results. Keep all of these documents from the time of buying the flip to at least one year after selling it. You’ll need them at some point for the bank, the realtors, your buyers and their realtors, everyone’s inspectors, possibly lawyers, and of course the IRS.

Don’t Forget…

…to keep a first aid kit, a phone, and a friend nearby. You never know when you might need to clean a cut finger or need help lifting a chunk of drywall.