DIY projects on a budget

Renovating a home is an expensive undertaking. However, if you go the DIY route, you can change the look of your home on a budget.

A DIY home project will require some work on your part, but it can add value to your home—or at least become a fun family project.

If that seems appealing, the next question you might have is how to fund a home improvement renovation. The good news is that simple projects may not require a large financial or time investment. And for those who do, you have some funding options.

Let’s take a look at a few simple home improvement projects to consider – and how to pay for bigger ones.

Home improvement projects over the weekend

Some budget-friendly DIY projects can take just a few days and greatly improve the aesthetics of your home (and even increase its value).

Here are some examples to consider.

paint walls

The way the walls in your home look can have a huge impact on the overall look of the place.

If your walls have old wallpaper, dirty paint, or other cosmetic imperfections, it may be time for a coat of paint.

When choosing a new color, consider how it may affect your home’s value. Typically, a neutral color scheme that stays consistent throughout the home is most appealing to potential buyers.

Give your kitchen cabinets a new look

Speaking of painting, consider upgrading your kitchen by painting the kitchen cabinets.

Installing new cabinets can be extremely expensive, but painting the existing ones a lighter color can also make a world of difference.

Another thing you can do is change cabinet knobs and drawer pulls. Although seemingly insignificant, such details can have a major impact on the aesthetics of your kitchen.

Replace bathroom hardware

Renovating a bathroom can be expensive and time consuming. Luckily, certain upgrades can give your bathroom a new look while also being easy on your wallet.

For example, you can install new faucets and replace the bathroom mirror. Even minor touches like new drawer handles or towel rails can spice up the look without draining your savings account.

Add new window treatments

Those old blinds or plastic blinds that came with your house may be familiar and practical. Unfortunately, they don’t do your home value any favors and they don’t look particularly good.

You can upgrade them to wooden blinds, curtains or plantation blinds. If you’re planning to sell, stick to neutral colors to add value to your home.

Rent a pressure washer

Let’s not forget the exterior of your home. Before you commit to repainting, rent a pressure washer. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference a nice pressure wash can make.

While you’re at it, you can also clean your patio, driveway, and sidewalks. Your home will shine like new!

Do it yourself vs. hire a professional

With many home projects, the question arises whether it makes more sense to go the DIY route or hire a professional.

Do-it-yourself is attractive mainly because of the labor cost savings. Sure, you’ll have to put in the labor (which can be a lot depending on the project), but you can save thousands of dollars by paying workers. If you don’t have the skills required, you can easily find a book or YouTube tutorial to guide you. The result may not be perfect, but you can be proud of it – and how much you saved.

On the other hand, it can be a good idea to leave some projects to professionals. If a mistake could lead to safety risks or your project requires special permits, you may want to hire contractors. Sure it will cost you, but your home will be safe. Plus, professionals will save you time and do the work that’s more likely to increase your home’s value.

How to fund DIY projects

If you’ve decided to tackle your home project yourself, but it still requires a significant investment, don’t worry. You have many financing options.

Loan for home improvement

A home improvement loan is simply a personal loan used for home renovations. It has a fixed interest rate and is paid in fixed installments. This type of loan is unsecured, so you don’t have to worry about losing your collateral.

On the other hand, comparatively high interest rates are charged for personal loans. You must also meet the lender’s requirements to qualify, including credit history, income, and debt-to-income requirements.

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

You can also finance a remodel with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is a secured loan that allows you to borrow the equity you have built up in your home.

You are given a drawing period in which you can draw money from your line of credit and only make interest payments. After this period, you can no longer take out a loan and must start repaying principal and interest.

This type of loan usually comes with low interest rates. However, these rates are not fixed and can fluctuate, affecting your monthly payments. In addition, your home becomes your security, which is always risky.

A HELOC also has credit score, debt-to-income, and other requirements.

home loan

Similar to a HELOC, a home equity loan is collateralized by your home and allows you to borrow against your home equity. You receive a certain amount of money and pay it back in equal monthly installments over a fixed term.

How much you can borrow depends on your income, your credit rating, and the market value of your home.

A home equity loan can be an option for costly upgrades. However, you risk foreclosure if you don’t pay as agreed.


Unlock is an innovative solution to your home improvement financing needs. It’s not a lender, so don’t take out a loan. Instead, it’s a real estate investor who pays you a set amount in exchange for a percentage of your home’s equity. For example, Unlock may offer cash equivalent to 10 percent of your home’s value in exchange for 16 percent of the home’s value in the future.

Unlock can be a good option to pay for an expensive home project as it allows you to access a large sum of money without going into debt.

Why use a solution like Unlock?

Unlock has some obvious advantages over borrowing. Because it is not a loan, no monthly payments and no income requirement are required to qualify. The required FICO minimum score is only 500.

How much you can get depends on your equity. Typically, you must have at least 20 percent of the home’s value in equity to take advantage of the program.

With Unlock, you could potentially get as much cash as the equity you have on your home at the time you take out the contract — on top of your first mortgage — without worrying about interest rates.

Unlock gives you 10 years to buy up your investment or sell the house.

This solution can be an excellent choice for many types of homeowners who are remodeling their home. Whether you’re after convenience, affordability, or working to increase the price of your home, Unlock is worth a look.

The final result

Home renovations can get expensive, but with enough skill and patience, you can complete many home improvement projects yourself.

If you are looking for funding for such projects, you have a few options. You can go a more traditional route and take out a loan or try a solution like Unlock to avoid adding on debt.

Whatever you choose, make sure you’re realistic about which projects can be DIY and which will require working with contractors—especially if you’re renovating to sell your home soon.

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