Dreaming of Home Improvements? Here’s Why You Probably Shouldn’t Do Them Yourself
A recent survey revealed that 36% of homeowners aren’t satisfied with some area of their house, according to this article. The top three spaces people feel need some sprucing up are:
- Bedrooms (34%)
- Bathrooms (31%)
- Living rooms (26%)
Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said they plan to do some renovations in 2024, setting aside an average of $3,762.79 to do projects, with these three topping the list:
- Redoing walls (62%)
- Installing new windows (42%)
- New moulding and trim (35%)
The question is: Will that work actually get done?!
A Lot of Home Improvement Projects Go Unfinished
It’s one thing to have a list of improvements you want to make, but getting them off the to-do list isn’t quite as easy.
If you’re looking to hire someone to do the work, finding and hiring contractors is often a difficult thing to do, but with so many people wanting work done, they can be even more difficult to pin down, let alone at a budget-friendly price.
Which is probably why — whether it’s out of desperation, or an attempt to save money — many homeowners try the do-it-yourself approach. Unfortunately, that leads to an awful lot of projects that get started, but never finished.
According to the article, the average homeowner has four renovations that were begun, but never completed, and 31% are in the middle of a project they’ve been working on for 52 days.
Some Projects Are Better Left to the Pros
No matter how many stores, TV shows, or online videos there are to help a weekend warrior finish their project solo, there are just some projects people don’t feel qualified to do themselves, or have tried and failed miserably at!
The top three home improvement fails homeowners reported trying to do on their own were:
- Painting or putting up wallpaper (32%)
- Installing new floors or carpeting (29%)
- Repairing or replacing their roof (22%)
Which is probably why the top three things people recommended not doing on your own were basically the same list, but with higher percentages:
- Redoing walls (60%)
- Installing new flooring (57%)
- Installing a new roof (46%)
If that isn’t proof enough that you should leave those jobs to a professional, this recent article from realtor.com also listed each one of those as DIY projects you should never do yourself, and threw in three more you should avoid as well:
- Electrical work
- Any work that requires permits
Make a List and Then Get on the List… of a Contractor
Whether you’re one of the folks who’ve already given it a shot and have several unfinished projects, or just don’t want to even try to do the to-do list on your own, here’s a 6-step plan for tackling the projects on your list in the coming year:
- Make a list of everything you want to get done. There’s no need to edit yourself here. Be bold, as well as practical. Walk around your house and itemize the things you’d like to get done out of necessity, or will just make your home a better, more enjoyable place to be.
- Prioritize the work on the list. For example, if a new roof is on the list because it’s currently leaking, then by all means put that at the top of the list. But if you just think a new roof would add to the curb appeal, you might find it makes sense lower on the list than some new flooring in the living room that’ll make you enjoy coming home everyday.
- Get recommendations and referrals to contractors. Perhaps all you need is a handyman service that can take care of everything on your list. Or you might need specific contractors skilled in their respective trades. Get names and numbers of contractors that people you know and trust have used and recommend.
- Get estimates. Once you have a list of contractors that come highly recommended, reach out to them and obtain estimates for the work you want to get done.
- Be thoughtful when considering their prices. There’s a good chance the estimates will vary considerably. Don’t be too quick to jump on the lowest bid. Make sure it includes everything the other bids do in terms of work and materials. Be willing to pay more for a reliable contractor who does good, honest estimates and work. That said, just because a bid is higher, that doesn’t mean it will equate to better quality work; the contractor could just be throwing an outrageous number at you because they’re super busy and don’t need the work, but will gladly take it if you’re willing to pay more.
- Get on their list and be patient. If they’re good, they’re probably in demand. Waiting a few weeks (or even months) to get the work done still beats starting a project on your own, wasting time and money, and ultimately having to wait for a contractor months from now anyway!
If there are things around your home you’d like to repair or renovate, you’re not alone. But before you dive into those projects as a do-it-yourselfer, consider that the average homeowner has four renovations they’ve begun, but never completed, and 31% are in the middle of a project they’ve been working on for 52 days. In addition, many of those who’ve tried to DIY certain projects regret doing so, and recommend letting a pro handle it instead.
So make a list of the projects you need to get done, prioritize them, get estimates from highly recommended contractors, choose the best one at the best price, and get on their waiting list! Even if you have to wait a few weeks or months, it beats wasting time and money on projects you’ll start and never finish.
January 8, 2024