Your home desperately needs an update, and you’re thinking you’ll take on some work yourself to save money. DIY home renovations can be a rewarding way to add value and style to your home, but there are a few things you’ll need to consider before you dive in.
1. Projects You Can DIY
The first thing you need to assess when planning home updates is your own skill level. If you don’t know your way around a toolbox, you should probably rule out major construction projects and stick to cosmetic improvements until you’re more comfortable. A beginner could tackle planting perennial bushes and shrubs along the front walk or installing a flagstone patio to create a backyard oasis.
A more experienced DIY-er might set their sights on building a deck, updating bathroom tilework, or building recessed shelves to maximize space. However, even if you know what you’re doing, you’ll still need tools to get the job done. Identify what tools you have and where you can buy, rent, or borrow what you need, and make sure you’re not required to hire a licensed contractor for the job you have in mind.
Unless home renovations are your idea of a relaxing weekend, you should also think about whether the project you have in mind is worth its time and cost. When you’re calculating expenses, factor in your labor at an hourly wage you’re comfortable with to ensure a DIY approach makes financial sense.
2. Return on Investment
Some home improvement projects increase the value of your home, while others only repay you in enjoyment of your home. If your priority is improving your home’s resale value, prioritize projects that offer a good return on investment.
If your home only has one bathroom, adding a second full- or half-bathroom is a surefire way to recoup your remodeling expenses when you sell your home. Of homes built in 2015, 90 percent had three or more bathrooms; aim for about 1.5 to two bedrooms per bathroom for the best resale value. You’ll need to hire professionals for the structural, plumbing, and electric work, but you can handle much of the prep, clean-up, and cosmetic work to save on costs.
Sometimes it’s the less glamorous home improvement projects that bring the best return on investment. Installing fiberglass insulation in your attic pays for itself, and installing energy-efficient windows can attract potential buyers. Before you splurge on a new kitchen or bathroom, make sure your home’s infrastructure is in good shape. A curbless shower can wait, but a broken furnace can’t.
And of course, there’s nothing wrong with making cosmetic updates that make you happy, even if they don’t necessarily translate into a market boost for your home.
3. Construction Disruptions
Updating your home can be fun and rewarding, but it can also mean a big disruption to everyday life. Make sure you have a plan for how you’re going to handle everything from negotiating bathroom times to help moving large items.
You’ll have areas of your home that are inaccessible for weeks to months. You may find yourself eating take-out for weeks on end or racing to take a shower in the only bathroom before the hot water runs out. You’ll have dust and messes to cope with and furniture that temporarily lacks a home.
If you want to get extra furniture out of the way until your project is complete, look for help moving items to and from storage. If you’re updating appliances, furniture, cabinets, or other large items, you’ll also need to figure out how you’re going to get the old items out and the new ones in. Unless you have a truck, ramps, and plenty of hands, you’ll probably need to find help moving out old items after a remodel.
Once you’ve picked out your project, analyzed your budget, and prepared for the inevitable messes, you’re ready to get started on your DIY project.
Author: Paul Denikin