These days, it seems like everyone is looking for ways to save a few dollars while also making those much-needed home improvements. Thanks to YouTube instructional videos and HGTV’s ideas and inspiration, homeowners can now tackle a lot of home improvement projects themselves. And while those DIY projects are fantastic (not to mention impressive!), it’s important for homeowners to know their limits. It’s important to remember that while there are a lot of really cool things you can DIY, you’ll need to make sure to “DIR” – Do It Right. Otherwise you could spend a lot more time and money fixing the disasters than you would have if you’d asked for help in the first place. Here are some lessons we’ve learned from our encounters in the REALTOR world.
Plan, Revise, and Plan again.
You’ve seen a really great idea in a magazine and want to add a window seat, or build in a banquette, or extend an island. That’s great! But before you build, measure once, twice and three times. Cut the new design out of newspaper and lay it on the floor. Walk around the space and make sure that doors open and close without obstruction, chairs can be pulled away from the table and people can still walk past, and that traffic still flows well. Don’t be the guy that builds a gorgeous new bar and can’t fit it through the door. Or the one that removes a partial wall only to realize that’s where the only light switch for the room was located. Think through every possible scenario before changing a room’s layout, and if you’re not sure your idea will work, ask a designer to come over for a consult. You might be able to modify your idea enough to make it work in your space with some helpful guidance.
Don’t always opt for the cheapest solution: For any DIY project, the cheapest option, from materials to appliances, should be considered with caution. While you can save money by not putting in the highest-end finishes possible, you’ll want to make sure that the option you chose will look good. For instance, if you’re replacing flooring in a high traffic area, you’ll want to make sure that the new flooring will stand up to wear and tear. Or, if you’re painting a room, a good quality paint will mean fewer coats and a more pleasing finish. Read the reviews about products before you buy and chances are good that you’ll enjoy the final result much more in the end.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: No one blames you for not knowing how to do everything, but you will get the blame if the end result is no good. Poor wiring, improperly fitted pipes, or poorly laid tiles can create nightmare scenarios during a renovation. Play it safe if you’re not sure how to tackle a project and call in a professional for a consultation or to do that part of the renovation. Spending a few hundred to make sure you’re safe is better than the alternative!
Use caution over holiday weekends: If you’re planning on doing a more complicated project over a long weekend, you might run into trouble if you need a pro in a hurry to help you fix a mistake or when a job turns out to be larger than you can handle. It’s better to do the tricky stuff when you’re more likely to find a professional available and when holiday or emergency charges won’t break the bank. Have a contingency plan if it all goes downhill quickly. If you plan ahead for emergencies you hope you won’t have, your chances of needing help after hours will be greatly reduced.
For more advice or for recommendations for trusted contractors, call your local MetroTex Realtor. If you’re thinking about buying, selling or leasing a home, go to dfwrealestate.com.