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What You Need to Know Before You DIY

DIYDIY, do it yourself. These are (most) everyone’s favorite words these days.

You see a cute something on HGTV or on Pinterest and you go, “Yeah, I can do that!”

One can find thousands of how-to videos on Youtube, further encouraging you to do what you haven’t before.

No DIY project is greater than that of your home. After an HGTV-binge I often find myself saying things like, “Sure, I can move this wall over.”, or “Retile this floor, no problem!”, or even “Electrical-smetrical!”

Home renovations, though, are not as simple as some of the small projects you find on Pinterest. They can become costly, ginormous monsters of chaos that quickly overwhelm you, and your wallet.

When starting to contemplate a DIY home make-over, there are some things you need to consider, especially when it comes to your wallet.

Budget, Budget, Budget!

Home repairs, remodels and upgrades are expensive! Don’t underestimate the value of materials, the time it will take, and the labor required to get your DIY project done. Underestimating the project will lead not only to utter chaos and hurt feelings, but your bank account won’t like you either.

Plan ahead by doing your homework on what it will take to get the project done correctly and in a timely manner. Going to repaint the bedrooms? Sure you can guesstimate that, and if you go over your estimate it’s probably not going to cause long-term damage to your finances. But underestimating the cost of your kitchen remodel by not accounting for faulty plumbing and wiring, or another unforeseen problem, could end up with you having to take on debt to finish the project.

Do your homework, find out the costs and plan to have at least a little wiggle room in your budget for the unexpected.

Expertise and Experience

If you aren’t afraid of putting in elbow grease and sweat, then demoing your upstairs bathroom by yourself won’t hurt. If you have back problems that you know physical labor will only make worse, then you might want to consider hiring the job done.

Another example is when it comes to things you just don’t know how to do. Just because you watched a video on how to rewire your living room outlets, does not make you qualified to do so. The cost of your inexperienced mistakes could mean the difference between a quick, proper and on-budget renovation and the renovation that nightmares are made of.

The Cost of an Expert

As mentioned, if you are more experienced in renovations and feel comfortable about DIY projects, then you might not need to hire a lot of it done. But if you are having problems coming up with a solution to your dream kitchen, a professional designer, architect, etc. can help you plan and space out your kitchen to make it achievable to do yourself.

Hiring an expert can be expensive and it might mean it will take multiple stages over a longer time period in order to afford to finish the project, but if that makes it more doable for you and your wallet, then do it! Paying a couple hundred dollars in consultation fees might save you thousands of dollars in the long run if you are inexperienced.

Find Places to Save Without Cutting Corners

Wanting to save money on your DIY projects is find, but you need to make sure you don’t cut any corners. For example, you generally get what you pay for with materials, so it’s usually not best to cut corners on the materials for your project. But there are still plenty of other places where you can cut costs.

If you chose to hire out a contractor, maybe you can still help with the demo, sanding, painting, clean up and more to cut down on labor costs for your project. The more you can DIY to save in labor costs, the better.

Can you reuse the trim, the cabinets or the appliances if you’re re-doing your kitchen? If not, you might still be able to donate them to Habitat for Humanity or another organization to help their efforts and provide you with a tax write-off. You may also be able to use used materials to save. But you should be cautious when picking used items so you still get high quality items.

Another way to cut costs is to look at your project carefully before deciding if it’s worth the cost. Do you need to blow out a wall or can you rearrange your space to be more efficient in the square footage you already have? Avoiding major construction will cut costs dramatically.

DIY home renovations can save you money if you make your space more energy efficient or more functional for your family. They can also be very rewarding! Keep in mind what you can do, what you can afford, and what you want or need in your home. Do your homework and your house will be the home of your dreams in no time.

 

Do you have any DIY projects in the works? How do you save money on DIY projects?

 

Photo courtesy of: c_badeja

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Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.

One comment

  1. I love doing DIY projects with my wife. Both of us learn and watch sample videos online, and we do it ourselves for fun and bonding. I am glad that we both have determination and willingness to do it till the end. And, we have become successful in every DIY project we do.

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