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What to Do When a DIY Dream Turns to DIY Disaster

Buying a home is a milestone in life that many people aspire to and dream of for years before it becomes a reality. Watching DIY television programs that highlight all of the fun and gorgeous projects possible when a space is your own instead of rented can be exciting. First-time homebuyers are particularly swept up by the idea of putting a personal touch on every facet of their new space. However, it can be risky to take on projects that are beyond your scope of expertise. In fact, taking on a DIY that you’re not capable of successfully completing can be downright dangerous and expensive to remedy if something goes haywire.

Taking on a home renovation or even a simple DIY can take a turn for the worse if you don’t have the skills necessary to complete the project. There is also a possibility of running into an issue mid-project that could be harder to complete than anticipated. For example, when simply changing out flooring for something a bit more your style, you could find damaged boards underneath1 (sub-flooring). Replacement of the sub-flooring is a much larger undertaking than simply adding new vinyl, wood, or tile. First-time homeownership is an opportunity to learn a little at a time about maintenance, repairs, and cosmetic upgrades. Taking time to assess your own skills/abilities, learn about the steps of a desired DIY project, and planning for costs can save you money, time, and frustration in the long run. Speedy Cash always has your back, so we put together a few easy-to-follow guidelines for tackling DIY projects and handling emergency home repair costs when a DIY dream turns into a DIY disaster.

DIY Dreaming

I grew up watching HGTV with my mom and grandma. When I was a kid, I never imagined that decorating or DIY projects would be very fun. I thought it was boring with a capital B to think about wallpaper. I wanted to learn new tricks on my roller blades or practice the lyrics to all of the Spice Girls songs on the Spiceworld album. My how times have changed. When I was renting, I would go into phases where I wanted to decorate which usually meant loading my virtual shopping carts with things I couldn’t afford. Then I would ultimately settle for whatever I could find at a local store because I don’t like to wait. The moment I became a first-time homeowner, however, things took a turn. Instead of just curtains, I started looking at light fixtures and kitchen faucets. I now have a dream sink. Who am I? I love it.

Buying your first home is an awesome experience, and when you’re on a budget it becomes apparent that DIY projects really are as cool as my mom thought they were. If you are a new homeowner (or a seasoned homeowner just diving into the world of DIY), you may want to take a pause like I did before jumping too far into the world of do-it-yourself projects. You see, I’m not that handy. I do know how to use tools, and I grew up working as my grandpa’s assistant as he brought my mom and grandma’s DIY dreams to life. Assisting as a ten-year-old, whose main job is to hand over the right screwdriver and grab a Dr. Pepper and an oatmeal cream pie out of the cooler for snack time, is a little easier than ripping out tile or replacing faucets. So how do you determine which projects are so simple to pull off that no matter your skill level it’s possible and which should be outsourced to an expert?

Projects Which May Require Hiring a Pro

It’s Saturday morning, and you’re off to Home Depot. Last week, you discovered a leak under your bathroom sink. Oh, no. Not to worry though, right? You’ve been watching YouTube videos in preparation for today; how hard could it be? One of the most tempting projects to take on revolves around repairs that are necessary and seemingly simple to fix. Unfortunately, taking on repairs with the intention to just get by2 until you can afford a professional’s help can cost you big bucks in the long run. More damage can be done to your home in the process of fixing the issue or more damage could occur later if the solution is impermanent. Unless you have made it a point to save money for emergency home repairs, you may find yourself in a pickle when your band-aid DIY turns into a disaster down the road. Another tempting DIY is to take on major landscaping projects. While minor planting and gardening are absolutely doable, keep in mind that you should never dig in your yard without first confirming that there are no utility lines in the area1 you want to dig up to plant your flowers. When determining whether to take a project on, assess your skill level first. Keep in mind the following projects are likely going to be quite difficult to pull off unless you have experience:

  • Electrical work—not only is electrical work potentially dangerous (life threatening even if you’re not careful) but it is also going to cost you when you sell your home. Home inspectors can spot DIY jobs from a mile away and will alert potential buyers when you try to sell your home. Electricians are extremely skilled professionals, so it’s best to call in experts for any electrical work.
  • Plumbing work—you can find yourself with a lot of water damage when plumbing isn’t done correctly. Yes, licensed plumbers can be expensive to hire, but shop around until you find someone who can fit into your budget. This isn’t the place to save a few bucks because the damage you could do will be much more costly. After all, the last thing anyone wants to type into a search bar is: how to pay for plumbing repairs right?
  • Major remodeling—anything that requires major demolition is a remodel best left to professionals. You could take out a load bearing wall by mistake and cause foundation issues, or you could damage electrical or plumbing components if you’re not careful. Make sure to request multiple bids before hiring anyone to handle the work!
  • AC + Heating Unit work—the last thing anyone wants is to go cold in the winter or to sweat all day inside during the summer. But AC and heating unit repair or work should be left to professionals. The systems themselves are quite expensive and damage can be done if you do not know what you’re doing. A little extra expense for a repair or upgrade will be worth it in the long run.

Pro tip: Start a savings account just for home repairs, upgrades, and maintenance. Over time, you will save enough to pay a professional to handle the jobs that require skilled workers. Emergency home repair loans are available if you are in a pickle, but it’s best to build your savings a little at a time. However, emergencies do happen, and if you find yourself with a repair that can’t wait either due to a disastrous DIY or otherwise, Speedy Cash can help with an Installment Loan. When a home repair can’t wait, an installment loan is an option7 that could save the day under the right circumstances!

Easy, Manageable DIYs

Most likely you want to avoid an emergency home repair loan and only take out a loan for upgrades and renovations if you take out a loan at all. If you have saved a few bucks for fun, cosmetic changes to your home, start with the basics that are quite simple to pull off without the help of a professional. Keep in mind, you may want to do some research to find the best methods and pricing to fit your abilities and wallet. There are plenty of DIY projects that require little experience!

  • Paint—you can change a room with just a few coats of paint.3 Samples are typically free at big box home improvement stores, and planning a color palette that fits your personality is fun! Make sure to take the time to tape corners, windowsills, outlets etc. Also leave room in the budget for proper tools, primer, and floor covering. Take your time and have fun! Painting parties could even be a thing if you plan one and invite your best friends!
  • Wallpaper—hear me out, this one sounds daunting, but it’s not so bad! There are even really nice stick-on wallpaper choices these days that will look really great and keep your effort a bit lower than traditional wallpaper. This is a process that takes time and requires an eye for detail, however. If you get frustrated when patience is involved with a project, or if you’re the kind of person who tends to need things to look perfect, then wallpaper might not be for you. If you’re up for the challenge, however, the results could be beautiful!
  • Rearrange furniture—I know, I know, this isn’t what you had in mind with a DIY. However, rearranging the furniture is easy to do, can make a big difference, and best of all? It’s free. I recently rearranged my entire house, and it truly feels like a new space for a price tag of $0.00! That's a bargain, and it’s fun!
  • Basic home maintenance—while maintaining your home may not be as fun as redecorating your home, it’s necessary and can pay off big time. Create a schedule for home maintenance and stick to it! Change filters, deep clean, check for any leaks or issues, and keep an eye on the outside. Once you have a routine, it’s easy to maintain a home, and it’s one of the duties you now have as a new homeowner!

DIY Disasters

So, you did it yourself and it turned out bad? The first thing to do is to take a deep breath and remember that it’s ok. You did your best! Home repairs and renovations are hard, and even the experts can make mistakes that are somewhat disastrous. It’s a house, and it can be repaired. Now, paying for the repair can be the tricky part. In some cases, your homeowner’s insurance may pay for repairs.4 For example, your roof is likely covered if there is damage done during a storm. An Installment Loan is an emergency home repair loan option to consider when you’re in a situation that needs to be handled asap. Installment loans can cover costs that aren’t covered by insurance or a home warranty. Alternately, a Line of Credit from Speedy Cash could fund renovations or repairs while offering you the flexibility of borrowing what you need a little at a time.

To DIY or Not to DIY?

Listen, we won’t try to tell you how to live your life. You bought a home, and you’re a capable, awesome adult human being with a plan and a vision. However, before starting any major DIY project, take a moment to assess your abilities, your budget, and your timeline.

Home repair costs can range from a few hundred dollars to $10,000 or more,5 and that’s just for repairs. Renovations are much more expensive and can take a long time to complete. Figuring out how to get money for home repairs and for projects that make your space truly your own can feel overwhelming. However, starting a home renovation and home repair savings plan can save you money because paying for renovations in cash typically equals a better deal particularly when working with contractors.6 No matter how you decide to pay for renovations, keep in mind that doing it yourself could cost more if projects are done incorrectly. Only taking on what you can reasonably complete (properly) is the best bet when considering which projects to DIY and which ones to hire a professional to complete.  

Sources:

1Taylor, Glenda (2022, May 20). 13 Maintenance Mistakes That Will Cost You the Most Money Retrieved from: https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/13-maintenance-mistakes-that-will-cost-you-the-most-money-53258

2Wiebe, Jamie (2016, Mar 22). The 8 Home Improvements You’re Most Likely to Screw Up Retrieved from: https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/diy-disasters/

3Christiansen, Marla (2023, May 3). 10 Home Repairs You Can DIY—And 10 You Should Always Hire a Pro For Retrieved from: https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/diy-home-improvement

4Bundrick, Hal M. CFP (2020, Jun 4). 7 Ways to Cover the Cost of Emergency Home Repairs Retrieved from: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/how-to-pay-for-emergency-home-repairs

5Axelton, Karen (2021, Jul 24). How to Pay for Emergency Home Repairs Retrieved from: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-to-pay-for-emergency-home-repairs/

6DeMatteo, Megan (2023, Mar 6). What’s the best way to pay for home renovations? Retrieved from: https://www.cnbc.com/select/how-to-pay-for-home-renovations/

7Langham, Dalton (2022, Jan 3). Top 5 Uses for Installment Loans Retrieved from: https://www.speedycash.com/resources/loans/top-uses-for-installment-loans/

About
Jessica Price
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Jessica Price | Finance Blogger | Personal Loans, Payday Loans, Installment Loans, Line of Credit, Title Loans, Budgeting Tips, Financial Literacy Jessica is hyper-focused on making information about the Personal Loans offered by Speedy Cash including Payday Loans, Installment Loans, Line of Credit, and Title Loans accessible and digestible. The key to responsible borrowing is understanding the loans you’re considering, and it’s Jessica’s mission to help anyone considering a loan make an informed decision. Jessica is passionate about sharing Budgeting Tips and helping readers increase their Financial Literacy. You’ll find great budgeting tips and information that will help you improve your financial wellness sprinkled throughout each of her blogs.

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