MONEY MATTERS ARTICLE #2
10 stress-free tips for your DIY reno
With summer upon us we are always wanting to finish the honey do list and break out those projects we have been talking about all winter. With so much going on in life, some advice we can pass on to you with confidence, create a well laid plan, do all your research, plan ahead and execute it according to your plan. Feel free to send us your renos, we will post before and after’s to help motivate our Ocean Park, White Rock and South Surrey neighbours.
- Create a plan
While most before-and-after projects appear quick and easy to complete at first glance, there’s often more elbow grease required than meets the eye. It’s helpful to do a little online research. Read all you can prior to rolling up your sleeves and seek out some videos on http://www.youtube.com or step-by-step tutorials that will help you create a DIY plan and nail every step.
- Get advice from a pro
If you’re planning on tackling a home improvement project yourself, it’s always helpful to get a professional opinion first to ensure a successful end result. For example, calling in a designer for a consultation, hiring a home inspector, emailed local landscape companies or just checking out their websites and blogs can provide unique insight and help you foresee potential issues in your own home. For insurance and liability purposes, it might also important to find out if licensed trade professionals and permits are required to complete the work so that you are protected should something not go according to plan.
- Determine your budget
One of the motivating factors for many DIY-ers is the potential to save money by flexing a little do-it-yourself muscle rather than hiring a pro. Although sweat equity may be free, it’s still important to create a realistic estimate of required materials and compile a complete project budget. Every project ALWAYS goes over budget, so give yourself a 10-20% cushions – the last thing any homeowner wants is to run out of motivation or money part way through. At the end of the day, your time is valuable too, and some grueling or more specialized tasks may be well worth your investment in dollars to hire a pro rather than your investment of blood, sweat and tears.
- Estimate your time
Regardless of how big or small a project is, most DIY-ers fail to create realistic timelines to complete the work. If you set a timeline, you must remember that things happen, and you do not want to be unrealistic and then have you lose momentum! It’s important to sit down before you begin a project and write out every step in sequence, then make a list of materials and costs associated with each step, and finally apply an estimate of time to each phase of the project. You often hear about adding 10 to 20 % for material overages … well, it’s also helpful to add 10 to 20 % more time to a project than what was originally estimated to account for bumps along the way. Accounting for things like dry time for paint is important to keeping your project on schedule. After all, there’s nothing worse than a project taking longer than you expected and then leaving it incomplete.
- Safety first
Having safety gear on-hand when DIYing is not only helpful to you but also your family. Take those extra precautions to protect yourself and your home from a potential DIY disaster is more important than the actual home improvement project itself. Invest in appropriate personal safeguards such as goggles, work gloves, a hard hat and steel toe boots, depending on the project, and avoid wearing baggy clothing that could get caught in power tools and moving parts. When it comes to your work environment, make sure your surroundings are clutter-free and valuables are packed away and protected. Remember, a clean safe workspace is a happy workspace!
- Don’t skimp on the prep work
Take your time, do it right the first time! The anticipation of refreshing kitchen cabinets with a new coat of paint can make it tempting to skimp on the ever important steps of sanding and priming, but keep in mind that the prep work is arguably 90 % of the DIY battle. Use prep essentials, such as the proper sand paper and high quality primers to ensure optimal paint adhesion, will ensure that the end results will be successful and long-lasting, and something your family can enjoy for years to come, without regret!
- Pick the right product for the job
This is where the research will help as well as talking to local pro’s, important to investigate and invest in the products and finishes that are designed for the environment that you will be creating. There’s a product out there for every situation and space — you just need to ensure that you choose the best one for your specific one.
- Have the right tools on hand
Knowledge and experience will certainly help with any do-it-yourself project, but one of the main factors to ensuring a quality end result is using the proper tools. There is a big difference between a piece of wood cut with a hand saw vs. using a compound double-bevel mitre saw. Many home improvement centres now offer tool rental options for “weekend warrior” projects, but for longer do-it-yourself renovations, consider investing to own. Purchasing quality hand and power tools can actually save DIY-ers a lot of time to complete a project, can minimize material damages, therefore saving money and frustration. You need the right tools for the job so that your final product is as you envisioned.
- Practice makes perfect
If you’re treading into new DIY waters with a project or skill that you’ve never tried before, it’s important to take the time to practice first. Get some scrap materials and try to recreate your vision, in doing this it will help you master the craft and your final product will exceed your dreams. Whether you’re learning how to cut crown moulding bevels with scrap wood, or testing out a faux finish treatment on a sample board, it’s helpful to perfect your technique prior to diving in to avoid costly mistakes.
- Know your limit, DIY within it!
If you’re not 100 % confident about using power tools or going up a ladder, then don’t! Give yourself the freedom to create but the know how to work within the confines of your patience, creativity, budget and want. Accidents happen when people are nervous or intimidated by an unfamiliar or uncomfortable task. Luckily, there are many local workshops offered at home improvement centres that can help DIY-ers gain the hands-on experience and knowledge to successfully execute their next DIY project with confidence. If you are currently looking to do some home renos, I may be able to find you some trades that could either help and or guide you. Or if you are realizing that those renos might be a bit more than you had originally thought, maybe there is a home on the market that fills your bucket list? Call me today for your FREE home evaluation, without a home visit! Yes, it can be done without a home visit, based on trends, the local market reports and the comparable homes in your neighbourhood and let’s find the dream home you want with all the bells and whistles. Joel Ross Your Ocean Park Realtor RE/MAX Colonial Pacific Realty Serving Ocean Park, White Rock + South