DIY stands for ‘Do It Yourself’ and is the act of fixing, repairing, decorating and building by yourself instead of hiring the services of a professional.
What is the benefit of DIY, ‘do it yourself?’
One of the main benefits of DIY is that the financing that you take out will usually stretch much further than if you were to hire a contractor to do the same work. Because the cost of labour is taken out of the equation (replaced with your own time) the overall cost will (normally) be lower.
You will also learn key skills that you will use throughout your time as a property owner, that can save you thousands of pounds in the long-run.
On top of this you will also have more knowledge about what needs to be done to keep your property in tip-top shape, and also make it easier for you to hire professionals (if you need them) as you will have a better idea of the costs and work involved.
What are the drawbacks?
Especially when you are first starting out, some larger projects could be more than you can handle and could end up costing more than hiring someone to do the work, especially if you have to get someone in to rectify the mistakes that you have made. Starting with smaller projects allows you to know your own ability levels, and will give you a better idea of when you should hire a professional to do the job.
Another drawback is that the work might not look as professional as someone who specialises in that trade. Again, starting with smaller projects will allow you to build up your skill set and increase the professionalism that you bring to each project.
Planning is essential as we discuss below.
Is anyone qualified to do DIY on their property?
As we mentioned above you need to think carefully before financing and undertaking a home improvement by yourself. Even those who have been working for years on home improvements will still get the help of specialists, especially when it comes to plumbing, wiring and anything that changes the structure of the house. Always make sure you know exactly what you are trying to do before you start, therefore avoiding costly mistakes that will take time and money to rectify.
I think my project will cost £15,000 – should I borrow more?
A quote that is often used when it comes to anticipating how long a complex task will take you, is Hofstadter’s law that says “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” and this is especially true for home renovations, both in relation to time, and the amount it will cost.
What this ‘law’ is saying is that even that you know it’s a complex task, and you know it will take longer and cost more than you predict, you will still most likely underestimate both. To be sure you should have a 5-10% contingency fund ready just in case something goes wrong on the project. Always take this in to account when you are looking for financing or a loan for home improvement.
How do I plan a DIY project?
There are many guides online to help you plan your first, or even tenth DIY project. Planning and budgeting are crucial, and getting these right comes with experience. However always assume that you will spend more than you think, and that it will take longer than you plan. This way you won’t be disappointed if you come up short for both resources and time.