Updated: Jun 12, 2019
TO DIY or not DIY- that is the question! You are part of a growing trend, if you prefer to take on your own home improvement projects instead of hiring professional vendors.
Americans are increasingly opting to save by completing their own renovations rather than paying premium prices for the work of others. And that’s reflected in sales figures- the DIY market rose a full 45% between 2012 and 2018, from $30.2 billion to $43.7 billion. Yes- that's billions. So with careful planning and budgeting, DIY projects can be relatively fun, efficient and creatively satisfying while allowing you to customize your finished product to your own tastes.
Might there a new DIY project in your future? If so, consider these tips for forming a workable strategy that ensures you’re prepared for every step of the process.
Create a wish list
If you’re like most people, you have a list a mile long of the updates or fixes you’d like to make to your home. That ever-evolving wish list is one of the joys (and one of the challenges) of homeownership. Create your own list, then determine which projects you can do on your own and which ones will require professional help. This will give you a starting point.
Prioritize the projects
Once you have your list, you’ll need to prioritize and decide which projects come first. Take an objective look and assess “need” versus “want” to help you rank order. Do you need a pool or maybe installing the new sub-pump so your basement doesn't become an indoor pool is more important! Improvements may be driven by plans to sell your home, hosting an upcoming party or welcoming a new family member. Consider all the variables. In 2018- over 70% of DIY projects were initiated to increase the value of their home and or the owners enjoyment- that counts as added value too.
Evaluate your top projects and estimate how much each one will cost. And then add in some more mystery money- about 5% for the oopsys. Some projects may be beyond your budget, some will be surprisingly affordable, and others may be achievable after you save a little money. But be realistic about how much you need to spend on each project- and your own skill level. It's not saving you money if you have to hire a contractor after the project becomes too advanced! I've learned that the hardway-
Plan time and resources
Before scheduling your DIY project, think about your free time and if your project has a deadline. To what extent are your nights and weekends open? Do you have the skills to get started on your own? The university of YouTube may give you that needed knowledge, they have so many awesome tutorials or you may need the help of family or friends who can complement your skills or assist you in meeting a deadline. My brother-in-law made a full tree house in 3 days and my father couldn't paint a porch in 3 weeks- what is your realistic availability after the first wave of excitement wears off?
Get supplies, then jump in
Now that you’ve zeroed in on your project, identified financing and recruited helpers, (code- who will help you with free labor and what nice neighbor will lend you their tools?) Create a supply list of the tools and materials you’ll need. To save money, check with those you know who may be willing to loan you tools or other supplies or see if the hardware stores or big box stores rent equipment!
But that's it- now it's time to start small and have confidence. If it's a pool or the sub pump- just jump in and try it- the water's fine! Check out our post on what are the essential tools for your DIY project too!