Even if your new home is move-in ready, part of the fun of home ownership is putting your own personal stamp on it. Sometimes just a little paint and your own furnishings and photos are enough to personalize your space; but sometimes, taking down a wall or two can be just as gratifying!
I have worked with some buyers who love the home renovation process. Over the years many have gotten great at executing each stage so they save time, money, and manage the updates from start to finish in a way that doesn’t disrupt their lives too much!
Actually, other people’s mistakes are a great way to learn. I’ve put together a quick list of things to consider before you even make your first Home Depot run!
- Let yourself be inspired. Sites like Pinterest and home improvement websites in general will give you plenty of options to consider. If you haven’t attempted any home improvement projects in a while, you’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to achieve high-end looks with DIY kits and tools designed for non-pros. There are also millions of ideas out there of ways to recycle what you already own for a “greener” DIY.
- Shop. Once you’ve got the concept, compare pricing so you get the most competitive ones on materials and tools.
- Make your budget. Now that you’ve got a good idea of what your renovation could cost, this is the point where you decide how much money you really want to allocate. A good rule of thumb is to subtract about 25% from the max you want to spend and use that amount as your bottom line. That 25% can then be your margin for error and is cash that can hopefully go back in the bank because you won’t need it, but it is a great way to maintain your budget and have a financial contingency.
- Make your project plan. Depending on the complexity of the job, your list may or may not be really detailed. I always like a comprehensive list that breaks down what has to be bought, what has to be done before the renovation is begun, and the priority and timeframe of every step. If you are ordering online (which can be less expensive than buying the item from the retail location) factor in a possible delay in shipping and/or an out-of-stock status.
- Know your limitations. If you know nothing about wiring an outlet, don’t learn how to on YouTube. Hire an electrician.
- Make a sketch. Visuals are powerful. After you’ve taken the measurements of the space, draw up a floor plan to scale. Doesn’t have to be fancy, but taping it to a wall near the construction zone with your notes and steps will come in really handy.
- Prep the adjacent space. Whatever you can do to mask the areas surrounding your renovation from being impacted by dust and dirt, do it. Nothing takes the fun out of a DIY than having to clean furniture, etc. that you wouldn’t have had to if you just used some well-placed drop cloths.
Whether you are moving in or selling a house, there’s a ton of changes you can make so it feels like home or so that it appeals to buyers. And never underestimate the satisfaction of a done DIY project in general. Especially when it gets done on time and under budget!