Let’s face it, you can’t turn on the TV today without running into a multitude of stations with shows about how to fix up your home with fantastic projects all on your own. I know people who come home every night, pour a glass of wine, fix themselves something to eat and watch DIY shows for hours. They just love to plan out all the wonderful projects that will make their homes more beautiful, impress their friends and add tons of equity at a fraction of the cost of hiring a contractor. So what do home buyers and Realtors think of this trend?
Well, I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but I’d say in general, the real estate community is less than impressed with the results. At a recent NAR conference that I attended, a story was told about a home owner who was so inspired with a recent segment of her favorite DIY show, she took out all of the windows in her living room! OK, that is a pretty egregious example, but you’d be surprised at how hard some of these contractors work to gain the expertise that makes a project look great and add value.
A recent example from our files: a home owner who was a surgeon decided to remodel his kitchen. He is a surgeon, so how hard could it be to do construction? He may be a great doctor, but the work that he did on his home ended up costing him money, not making it. First of all, he didn’t check on the codes, so much of the electrical was not only wrong, it was possibly dangerous. Secondly, stitches might be his specialty, tile… not so much. The sad part of this scenario was that the home owner spent plenty of money on materials. Sure he saved on the labor, but when he (or the next home owner) has to rip it out and have it replaced (this time by someone who knows what they are doing) he ended up losing money, and time, in the long run.
My advice: unless you are very confident that your skills match those of professional contractors, save the DYI projects for personal property. Go nuts on your dining room table, build and decorate your own bookshelves, create the centerpiece of your dreams, but leave the kitchens and bathrooms to the professionals. It will save you time, energy, money and possible the deal when you go to sell your house.