I'm a first-time home buyer in Louisville, KY. I purchased a foreclosure and have been learning the ins-and-outs of basic construction as I go along from others and just from trial and error.
I started with the utilities, learned how to install electrical lines when I was younger, and finally applied that skill here, and learned how to plumb copper pipe from a friend and read enough until I had the courage to use trial and error of soldering the pipes. I could have spend the extra money on the easily removed chinese-finger-trap-style clip joints, but decided soldering was much more friendly on my pocket. Now moving toward the aesthetics, but am having some difficulty preserving old building styles of lath and plaster as the wood has rotted in certain areas, and plaster isn't holding in other areas.
The floors were bad off and there's a couple of layers of what I'm guessing is asbestos-laden vinyl flooring so I kept down the laminate subfloor that was overtop of it to lay some slate tile on top of Schluter system's Ditra which I would highly recommend as the mortar is less expensive that way and more time-efficient as you don't have to wait for the underlayment to dry before you lay tile. On top of that you only need one layer of modified thinset and a layer of unmodified(greatly reducing cost).
My biggest problem is the main support girder beam of the house that is resting on the cement support beams alone the basement. TERMITES!!! They ate through a part near the entrance of the house. We had planned on perhaps re-selling this property some time in the future, and it would be a deal buster from what we had been told by an ex-home-inspector.
My wife and I are happy to be home-owners instead of renters now, but wish we had more knowledge before diving into this pool of vast knowledge of home renovation.