So, you took my advice and checked out your property like a potential buyer, and you made the list of all the home improvements that need to be done. You even split that list up between the “I can do it myself” and “That’s gonna cost me!” lists. So, you’re ready to get started, right?
Are you sure about that? Before you go jumping into a DIY project, it’s time to do a little more homework. Are you positive that you know exactly what that project involves, how long it’s going to take, and that you truly have the skills to complete it without driving yourself crazy? I have to ask, because I consider myself to be a pretty good renovator, and I think I can complete a lot of my projects by myself (or with the help of a friend). However, I have learned the hard way to make sure I know what I’m getting into before I dive in!
For instance, your local tile or home improvement store will be happy to offer you a DIY class in installing tile. They tell you that you can remodel your kitchen or bath or install a new floor, no problem, once you complete that afternoon class. Uh-huh… You’re comfortable with removing old tile (a nasty, dusty, dangerous project involving flying pieces of tile with sharp edges), hauling all that debris to the dumpster (Dumpster?!? Really?!?), installing green board in wet areas like showers and laundry rooms, including sealing the seams and screw holes so the water doesn’t seep in, leveling the floor surface to avoid cracked tiles down the road, reinstalling electrical and plumbing fixtures, grouting, sealing, perfecting? Ok, if you’re sure…
I’m not saying you can’t do the projects on your DIY list. Many people have the skills and patience to complete these projects. I’m just trying to make sure you recognize all of the often overlooked steps and skills involved in some projects. Personally, I have very limited experience when it comes to serious plumbing and electrical work. I can manage changing light fixtures and bathroom hardware, and replacing old outlets and switches, but that’s the extent of my bravery when it comes to plumbing and electrical. And, I’m pretty skittish, due to my personal vision issues that limit my depth perception, about using large power tools – I like all my fingers attached to my hands, thank you! My point is that you need to be extremely confident in your skill level before you take on a DIY project. My personal rule of thumb is that, if it requires a permit, let a professional do it!
If you have the least bit of doubt about your own skills when it comes to a specific project, please consult a professional (not a sales person). The true professionals will have no problem letting you know if it’s okay to take on a project yourself. They don’t necessarily have time to take on small projects, nor can they make money and still offer you a reasonable price, so they will be happy to give you some quick tips and let you do it yourself.
With that information, I’m going to leave you to reevaluate your DIY list, keeping in mind the following simple questions:
- Does it require a permit to do this renovation in your city?
- Do you have all the necessary skills and tools to complete the project safely?
- Do you have the patience to do it yourself?
Good luck on your DIY projects! Next time, we’ll talk about the big projects – how to determine what they are worth to the value of your home, and how much they will cost. Happy hammering!
Rae the Renovator