The Direction of DIY

The interest rate spikes have taken a toll on the home buyer’s market, making it more difficult for buyers to afford mortgages with higher rates. High rates have also slowed the home equity loan market, a popular source of funding for home renovation projects. Now that loans are less attractive, homeowners are choosing to do projects they can afford to do with cash on hand.

Doing projects oneself offers significant savings over hiring a professional, but usually won’t include larger projects requiring plumbing and electricity. If you can do the bulk of a job yourself and only outsource for the tasks that require certain skills, you can take on bathroom renovations and other projects that require more skill.

Some of the most affordable projects include:

    • One of the most affordable DIY projects is laying new floor tile. Although wood prices have risen significantly, making wood floors too expensive for many homeowners, tiles now come in a wide variety of realistic-looking wood patterns. SomerTile is a great resource for affordable and diverse tile selections.

    • Painting walls, especially when changing color, offers a great impact at a very low cost. A single room can be transformed for less than $100. You can accomplish quite a bit around your home with paint from changing the walls to reviving furniture, and painting tile floors. Painting doesn’t require much skill, just care and lots of drop cloths.

    • Stripping the finish from old furniture and applying a new finish can give you a whole new look and make something old look beautiful again. You can find old furniture for sale online and refinish it with stain or paint.

    • Planting flowers is very rewarding and can transform the look of your yard very inexpensively. Adding potted plants to areas where you can’t have a flower bed brings color and texture.

    • Add or change curtains. Replace heavy, ornate curtains with something simple and sheer to bring more light into the room.

    • Shelves are replacing cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms. They are less expensive and can be assembled with any elements you like, i.e., glass or wood.

    If your goal is to replace old furnishings with new, try selling your old stuff online in Facebook groups, Craigslist and other local apps. Right now, there is a very long wait time on new furniture, especially when being imported. More buyers are turning to used furniture as a more affordable and available option. The bonus is the money earned from old furnishings can help fund the purchase of new stuff. Tag sales often feature better quality furnishings than garage sales. (Garage sales are common for getting rid of unwanted items while a tag sale is often held by someone who is moving).

    You can find instructions for just about any type of DIY project for free on YouTube. While some projects require more care and skill than others, many can become family projects and be completed quickly with many hands. And if done as a family, you’ll all appreciate the results that much more.

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