What to Consider Before Doing a DIY Project

Do-it-yourself renovations can be very satisfying. At least that’s the impression you get when you spend time watching HGTV or YouTube for DIY project ideas. You’ll probably find that DIY pros make projects look overly fun and easy. According to the Reno stars, all it takes is a few supplies, a weekend, a few friends, and loads of pizza. While some projects can be so fun and easy, there’s a lot more to a successful DIY project, especially before you begin.

If you’re considering the pros and cons of DIY to decide whether to do it yourself or hire a pro, consider this. Sweat Equity can pay off in a number of ways. You can save significant labor costs. According to the latest Census Bureau findings, the average home improvement spend is less than a quarter of what you would pay a professional ($600 vs. $2,600). Plus, you may have better design control and avoid the hassle of having strangers in your home.

If you’re excited and ready to try your hand at a home improvement project, read on. Before you begin your next weekend project, it’s a good idea to create a roadmap for best success. Here are eight ideas to consider before undertaking any DIY project.

1. Time frame and scope of the project

Before you embark on starting any DIY project, make sure you have the time to handle the scope of the work. Is the project one that needs to be completed in a few days? Or can it be an ongoing project that spans a few months? If you’re just starting out with DIY projects, start with the small wins that build confidence and experience. Painting an accent wall or guest room is far less intimidating and definitely more doable than painting the entire exterior of your home.

Be realistic about how much time you need. DIY projects generally take longer than expected, especially when compared to a pro’s schedule. There’s a learning curve to getting comfortable with the tasks and working fast – make sure you’re realistic about what’s required and committed enough to see the project through. Otherwise, you could end up with unfinished jobs that can affect the functioning of your home.

Some easier projects to get started with are:

  • painting
  • Replacing hardware such as wall panels, drawer handles and doorknobs
  • Replacement of lights with LED versions
  • Adding smart home features like a wireless security system or voice-activated lights and climate control

2. Cost of the DIY project

DIY projects theoretically have lower costs because you’re not paying for the labor that often makes up the bulk of a build or remodel’s bill; Your main expense is just the materials. However, it’s best to do some research ahead of time to confirm that this is really the case, especially with the rising cost of supplies and raw materials like wood these days. When calculating DIY project costs, don’t forget to consider the following:

  • Disposal Fees (for large amounts of debris)
  • Tools or equipment needed
  • permits required
  • Additional work, e.g. B. Paying for additional help

Once you have the estimated total cost of the project, you should add an additional 10 to 20 percent for overages. Compare the cost of doing it yourself versus hiring a professional. Are the savings worth your time and effort?

If the cost is close to hiring a professional, consider ways you can save money on the project, such as: e.g.:

Looking for Used or Gently Used Materials: You may find cheaper supplies and materials at sources such as Habitat for Humanity or Facebook/Craigslist.

Balancing the highs with the lows: Robert J. Fischer, a real estate agent and owner of The Robert J Fischer Team, suggests “Using quality materials only for the part that is most visible and adds the most value to your home .” Allow yourself to be the focal point of a project and use less expensive items as supporting parts.

Shop nearby: Compare prices for similar materials at your local hardware stores and online sites to find the lowest price.

3. Expertise required

Once you have an idea of ​​the scope and cost of the project, consider how challenging or difficult it would be to complete. For example, can you realistically retile a backsplash with the dimensional, patterned tile you like best? It can take careful design adjustment and lots of editing to get it right.

Perhaps it is easier to choose a single-color subway tile. Or, unless you have prior tiling experience, skip the tiling altogether and update the backsplash with a peel-and-stick version.

4. Tools and equipment needed

When researching a DIY project, think about what kind of tools you might need. Buying specialized equipment can strain your budget. Can you borrow the media you need? Or maybe you can borrow them at your local hardware store. Be sure to include the cost of the equipment in the project cost.

5. Permissions

In most areas of the country, homeowners do not need a special license to work on their own residential buildings. However, you may still need a city or county permit for the type of work you intend to do. A good rule of thumb is that any work that changes the layout of your home, such as For example, removing a wall or adding a patio or fence may require a permit. Electrical or plumbing work may also require permits – and a licensed professional to complete the work.

If in doubt, check with your local building authority for requirements. And if your home is part of a homeowners association (HOA), you may need additional approval for certain types of home improvements.

6. Health and Safety

As you calculate DIY pros and cons, keep in mind how the project may affect your health. Some projects require heavy lifting, climbing, bending or stooping. Other projects like refinishing wood floors, removing popcorn tops, or sanding cabinets can pose a safety hazard due to the chemicals required. Additionally, if you’re working on an older home, you can substitute lead-based paint or asbestos.

Before you begin, consider the safety hazards of what you are about to undertake. Test for asbestos or lead before sanding or scraping. Make sure you take steps to protect your family, yourself and your pets.

7. Cost-Benefit Analysis

Before investing time and money in a home project, think of it as an entrepreneur. How will the project improve the resale value of the home? Is the investment worth it? Are you confident that the completed project is an asset that other buyers would appreciate? Or does it look too amateurish?

According to Brian Burke, owner and managing agent of Kenna Real Estate, “No matter how large a home improvement project you choose to undertake, the average return isn’t going to be more than 63.7 percent if the home is sold within a year. So it will not always work to invest a lot of money in remodeling the house. Rather, you can consider some relatively easy DIY projects that can add value to your home.”

8. When in doubt, seek help

Even if you have decided to tackle a project yourself, there is no harm in getting advice from professionals. James Chapman, Director of BELLAbathrooms, recommends that you seek professional advice. A contractor may be able to point out pitfalls and factors you may not be aware of. “The expert can give you an expert opinion on your desired style or result, giving you more confidence to go ahead with your home improvement project with less danger and risk,” he says.

Bottom line when considering a DIY project

A do-it-yourself project can make you very proud that you made it yourself and saved money. For the best chance of success, follow the steps outlined above before you begin to ensure the time and expense you invest is worth it.

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