June 29, 2009

Home DIY: Save Money and Increase the Value of Your Home

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These days more than any other, saving money any way we can is penultimate to everything else. The economy has degraded financial confidence in almost every home, and so cutting corners is key to financial wellbeing and security. This easily extends to one of the markets hit hardest by the relatively recent economic downturn, and that is the housing market.

As we all know, approximately two years ago the housing market started to crash due to variable interest mortgage loans. This only made thousands of homeowners subject to loan default and foreclosure, but also contributed to lower consumer confidence, lower property values, and less overall economic growth. In short, more people were shying away from purchasing properties and instead holding fast to their original home. Though unfortunate as far as our national financial health, this sort of inaction gives many property owners the time to improve their homes while they wait on the economy to revive.

If you know how and what and how to improve, home improvement is one of the easiest way to gain priceless equity in your home, and certainly cheaper than buying a new home. It may be a bathroom that needs updating, a kitchen that needs new appliances or cabinets, or a dining room that needs hardwood floors or floorboards and joists that need woodworm treatment. Whatever it is about your home that could stand some improving, now is the time to do it, and if you are DIY-savvy then all the better.

Doing it yourself-that is, home improvement and remodeling-will save you thousands of pounds and headache if you know how to do it. Carpenters, plumbers, roofers, and home improvement installers cost astronomical fees per hour just for labour on many projects that you can learn to do yourself. You certainly don’t need a degree at a trade or tech school to be able to update and improve your home-all you need is some tools, supplies, time and a will to learn.


Consider Your Home

One of the first things to consider when deciding to improve your home is what aspects of your home could stand improving. For example, is the tile in the bathroom a 1970s mustard or the cabinets in the kitchen poor quality composite wood? You’ll need to look at your home in a whole new way. What do you personally think needs improving or updating in order to bolster your home value and equity?


Do Your Market Research

Next step-though often overlooked-is considering what the typical prospective buyer would want in a house of your home’ size, shape, and neighborhood. Try to look at your home objectively and without your own opinion. For example, you may love the bright pink walls in the living room, but would most prospective buyers? Probably not. Remember that you want to give buyers the incentive to choose your home over another—when the market clears that is. Ask friends, research home trends, and consult an estate agent. Find out the features that people are most commonly looking for, and match that against what you already have.

Make a List

Start jotting down aspects of your house that you like, what others like, and also what could stand improvement or enhancement based upon the two previous topics. Add to this rough price estimates and diy expertise needed to achieve the home improvement. Make notes of what your short and long term goals are project-wise. This will help you better develop a plan to work by as well as know your limitations. For example, you know that the master bath would be greatly improved by a hot tub, but would it be a deal breaker? What’s more, could you afford the investment?


Research How-To

So, how do you learn how to do it yourself as a home hobby if you have never done it yourself? Take to your initial project as you would anything that requires learning: with research, fortitude, and advice. Ask around. Perhaps you have a family member who has done carpentry work. Ask them for direction. Visit a hardware store and ask advice-depending on the project, they probably have some experience in that area; and if not, know someone who does. Lastly, research on the internet and bookstores for whatever project you are considering doing. Chances are very good that somebody (and probably many somebodies) have done the very project you plan to do and have all the information on supplies needed, length of time, costs associated and so forth.

Home Equity

Depending on long you’ve owned your own home, you could have a quite a bit of equity in your home already. Though some loans are hard to get these days, you may be eligible for a home equity loan to help you with your renovation project or repair. The great thing about home equity loans is that they are typically little to no interest and offer large limits for home projects.

Gather the Supplies

Once you have a rough estimate of what you need and how much you have to spend, start gathering the tools and supplies needed. To help you save even more money, it helps to already have or have access to a wide array of the staples: hammers, saws, nails, etc. What you don’t have, look into borrowing from a friend or shop eBay and like-minded sites for used tools. Tools, though a great investment for years and years of DIY projects-make for a very expensive beginning; so it is always best to find other resources to save you money on them.


Learning Curve

Remember that even the most experienced home handyperson has to retrace their steps on projects, make multiple trips to the hardware store, and yes-start over. Like anything new, learning how to manage a home improvement project will take time and mistakes. Start with a small and relatively simple project, and don’t give up. Whatever setbacks you may find on your path of home DIY, will be well worth the money saved through not using an expensive contractor.



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