DIY home renovations can save you lots of money and help you develop important home improvement skills, but they’re also risky. You need to appreciate the dangers of taking on a big home project by yourself before jumping the gun. Here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of DIY home renovations to help you make the best decision.
Customization is the biggest advantage of taking a DIY approach. You have free reign over all of the project’s design details with no creative constraints. The renovation can meet your exact specifications as long as they don’t compromise the house’s infrastructure.
You also have control over the budget, so you’re free to spend as much or as little as you want.
Working with a contractor might give your project more stability, but contractors are known to hide information from their clients to keep projects simple. Doing a DIY home renovation helps you avoid this problem and puts you in full control.
Con: Lack of Professional Help
Although contractors aren’t always upfront about certain details of the project, they’re still professionals. They have more knowledge and experience, so they can provide you with great insights that you haven’t considered before.
You can also be sure that they will complete the project on time and within budget, which isn’t a guarantee in a DIY project.
You will go through a significant learning curve before you develop full confidence in your DIY remodeling skills. If you have a friend or family member with experience in the building trades, consider reaching out to them for help.
Pro: Savings Potential
You can save hundreds of dollars by doing a renovation yourself instead of hiring a contractor. You get to control all of the project’s expenses, including tools, materials, and installation costs. The money you save by avoiding a contractor can go toward higher-quality materials and any other important expenses, such as school and vehicle payments.
If successful, your DIY home renovation will yield a notable return on investment. The best renovations have returns up to 80% if everything goes according to plan. The ROI on these projects would also be significant if you hired a contractor, but you have a lot more savings potential by taking the DIY approach.
Con: Potential for Losses
Of course, great savings potential also means you could lose a lot of money. You can easily make a costly mistake that forces you to go over your budget. If someone gets injured, medical expenses come into play. You might have full budget control now, but you will quickly lose control if the project goes off the rails.
Additionally, a DIY remodeling project might force you to change your insurance plan. As a general rule, every addition requires an insurance revision when it comes to home renovations. Pools, decks, patios and other such extensions could require you to get a more expensive home insurance policy.
Pro: Learning Relevant Skills
If you commit to a DIY home renovation, you will get to learn many relevant skills. You’ll learn about carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical work, landscaping and all kinds of other home improvement fields.
Each project you complete will make you a more competent homeowner. Eventually, you won’t have to ask anyone for advice. You’ll be the expert.
DIY renovations also force you to find unorthodox ways to complete the project. You don’t always have to go by the book. By learning everything on the fly, you will discover different budget-friendly strategies to make the project work.
Con: Safety Hazards
However, as you develop your remodeling skills, you will be exposed to numerous safety hazards that might result in a painful accident. You might slip and fall, or a foreign object might fall and hit you. Cuts, bruises, burns, bites, stings, and poisonings are all possibilities. If you get injured, the entire project comes to a screeching halt.
The lack of safety is the main reason why most homeowners avoid DIY projects. They aren’t willing to risk their health, which is completely understandable. DIY renovations are for able-bodied risk-takers. If you have any physical limitations, you should leave the project to the professionals.
Pro: Schedule Flexibility
Since there is no contractor to set rigid time restraints, you have full schedule flexibility. You get to choose your own working hours and go at your own pace. This advantage will be especially beneficial during your first project. It’s crucial that you take your time and don’t rush through the design process.
A flexible schedule also means that you can stop the project at a certain point and continue at a later date. If other important obligations come up, you can drop everything without worrying about exceeding your due date. There is no due date. You get to finish the renovation on your own terms.
Con: Legal Complications
Following local regulations is one of the hardest parts of completing a big home renovation project. If you fail to get the required permits or follow local building codes, you could be in for some painful legal complications.
Some common legal disputes about home renovations include damage to property, zoning, and breach of contract.
A DIY project helps you avoid a breach of contract issue since you’re not working with anyone else. However, it also means you have to get all of the permits by yourself. Contractors usually take care of the permits for you. Fences, new windows, plumbing, electrical wiring and many other remodeling additions require different legal permits.
Consider Your Options Carefully
A DIY home renovation could result in massive monetary gains and help you develop important remodeling skills, but it could also result in financial, physical or legal disaster. You need to consider your options carefully before making any design changes in your house. Talk it over with your family and see if you’re ready to take on the responsibilities of a DIY project.