Avoid These Common Mistakes When Remodeling or Selling Your House By Owner

DIY for your home or getting it ready to sell by owner?

Whether you already have a home that you are looking to upgrade, sell your home by owner, or you are looking into purchasing a home that will require a few improvements, doing it yourself (DIY) is a great option. In Boise, there are countless professional home contractors to help with various projects from painting to full bathroom remodels, but the cost alone is sometimes enough to steer homeowners to DIY options. In fact, in 2009 alone, 41 percent of homeowners stated that they would be doing some kind of home remodel; with the advent of money-saving projects, that number has likely increased. No matter if you are a seasoned handyman or a DIY beginner, there are several mistakes to watch out for in order to get the most bang for your buck and use your time wisely.

Not Getting a Permit

A building permit gives you permission to complete the desired work. Depending on where you live, the rules may be slightly different, but the general consensus is that if you are altering the structure of your home, you’ll need a permit. The following are types of home alterations: erection, construction, removal, demolition, movement, enlargement, and conversion. Even something as minor as putting up a privacy fence may require a permit based on your neighborhood association’s guidelines. If in doubt, always ask your local building authority.

Acquiring the necessary permit comes with a fee, but the fine for getting caught without one is much heftier. In fact, you could be required to remove your hard work and redo it after you get a permit, increasing your out-of-pocket costs. The primary purpose of a permit is to ensure that you are doing it safely, so opt for safety and look into those permits!



Low-balling Your Budget

While one of the main reasons you are doing a project yourself is to save money, don’t make the mistake of low-balling your budget only to be met with shock and surprise when you go way over it. More often than not, when you factor in unexpected costs as well as your time spent on the project, DIY projects usually cost more than you thought they would. It can be difficult to get an accurate estimate, as you never know what curveball will be thrown at you, but try to get as close as possible. Start by paying a visit to your local home improvement stores and price out all of your materials. If you aren’t sure about your materials list, ask a friendly employee. They help individuals with DIY projects every day, and can point you in the right direction.

While you’ve already decided to DIY, it will be worth the time to get a free estimate from a few contractors to not only make sure your estimate is accurate, but to determine if you would be better off hiring a professional. There are contractors who would be more than willing to price out your project, giving you the peace of mind that you are making the right financial choice.

Overestimating Your Skills

When you first start a DIY project, you feel like you can conquer the world. However, sometimes you get further into it and realize you are way over your head. Taking on a job that is better suited for a professional contractor or handyman is an easy way to blow your budget. In addition, a small problem can quickly turn into a ginormous one if you aren’t sure what you are doing. If you find that an issue crops up in the middle of your project, reach out for help rather than trying to press on, especially if you have any doubts. It is best to leave plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and roofing to the pros, as any mistakes could cause serious injury, or even death.

As you assess your skills, write down each step in the project and truly ask yourself, can I handle this safely and effectively? Don’t forget to do your research by asking friends who have completed similar projects, consulting books, and using other detailed resources. The more prepared you are, the better you are able to either approach the project head on or realize this might be better left to someone with a little more experience.

DIY projects are an exciting experience, but don’t let the excitement cloud the reality. Avoid common mistakes to avoid unnecessary headaches, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your home and sanity will thank you.

Andrew Wheeler

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