Buying a home is perhaps the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. And many people are willing to deal with a few property issues to knock down the sale price. But messing up a DIY job can prove costly. Most homeowners can avoid this mistake by learning what they can handle and when to bring in the professionals. Here’s how you can ensure success by defining your scope in any home improvement project.
Budget and time
Although DIY projects can be fun and fulfilling, few people go through all that effort solely for their enjoyment. For most homeowners, financial considerations are a significant driver of interest in the DIY field. But it’s not enough to know that you can save money by investing your sweat equity.
Unless the project is something you can accomplish just by driving to the hardware store, picking up materials, and working for a couple of hours, you need to plan. How much of your spare time can you set aside each day to do the work? What percentage of your monthly budget can you set aside for materials?
The longer a project takes, the higher its potential to disrupt your schedule. And remember that buying equipment, such as power tools, might be an expense that’s hard to justify for a one-time job. If you’re not going to use them frequently in the long run, hiring a reliable contractor might prove more cost-effective. Just make sure to vet them thoroughly.
Do the research
When taking the DIY route, it’s wise to leverage all of the resources at your disposal. And thanks to the internet, information is probably the one resource to which you’ll always have abundant access.
Many DIY projects trace their roots to inspiration found from a Pinterest board or YouTube how-to video. Bear in mind, though, that these resources are often created or curated by people with a higher level of expertise than yours. Feel free to be inspired by their ideas, but don’t stop there.
Continue to research with more focus on the practical side. Are all of the materials used available from suppliers in your area? If not, or if they are out of your budget range, what substitutes could you use? Have other people attempted to follow the same procedure or a similar project? How did they fare, and what was the result?
Leverage your information, and you can avoid the costly mistake of biting off more than you can chew. You might even be able to find tips to simplify a project from its original presentation or make it more cost-effective. And all of that takes place before you even pick up a hammer.
Skill and situation check
DIY projects run a broad spectrum in terms of the skill required. Ideally, you want the nature of the work to be aligned with your existing capabilities. Thus, getting the balance right requires you to know two things: yourself, and your situation.
Homeowners might have several existing skills that prove beneficial in a DIY job. The application of craft skills or career expertise is the most direct example. If you’re an architect or engineer or have woodworking experience, a lot of challenging projects are within your scope. Other forms of expertise can come in handy; project management, for instance, lets you plan logistics, adhere to a schedule, and coordinate work with other people as needed.
Skills can be improved as long as you’re willing to learn. If a project seems to be beyond your current level but isn’t urgent, you can identify the skill gaps and work on them. Take on small, simple DIY projects that let you practice those skills and build confidence.
Don’t forget to do a proper situational analysis. Painting the walls of a room, for instance, should be a straightforward task. Anyone with a brush and some paint could do it. In terms of skill, you only need to mix the right color and apply the right thickness of coat.
But what if your walls have cracks, or seem to be out of alignment? A paint job won’t be enough to fix the overall appearance. What appears to be a simple situation could have a structural issue. Most homeowners are better off leaving such jobs to a professional. In this case, you would want to inquire with a drywall service, such as Longhill Contracting, to ensure structural integrity. Then you can pick up from where they left off and deal with the cosmetic issues.
When it comes to home improvements, doing it yourself doesn’t mean you have to handle the entire workload. Define your scope, and you can focus on the areas where you can make a difference, leave complex matters to the pros, and ensure overall success.