DIY Home Improvement Projects for First-Time Home Buyers
How to Make Simple Do It Yourself Improvements to Enhance Your Home
Ask any of my friends and they'll tell you that I am a DIY remodeling nut. I can't even walk into the restroom of a restaurant without visually measuring the grout lines in the ceramic floor or noticing whether the inside baseboard corners are perfectly mitered. See? I'm obsessed. And it all started with tackling do it yourself updates after I bought my first home. I just didn't know any better.
Once the DIY bug hits you, it doesn't let go.
When I first started doing my own work, I gravitated toward green home improvements, which I never regretted. I also discovered that as soon as I finished with one project, I was ready for another challenge. The projects grew increasingly complex. It's astonishing what you can accomplish with your own two hands if only you would try and not be afraid of messing up. The worst that generally would happen is you would do it over.
I will warn you, though. The universal rule is once you start, you cannot stop. Because other parts of your home that were not an eyesore will suddenly turn into a nagging project. If you paint a wall, a ceiling will say: hey, how about me? If you paint the ceiling, the light fixture will say: hey, what about me?
Simple DIY Projects
You don't need to start a DIY project by crawling up on the roof with a circular saw to cut giant holes for skylights like I did. It's much easier to begin with a smaller DIY project to gain confidence.
Here are 3 projects anybody can tackle:
How to Replace a Toilet
Dual flush or power-assisted flush toilets are amazingly quiet and efficient. Of course, you better closely examine your bathroom floor before replacing the toilet because if you've ever considered a new floor, after you remove the toilet is the time to do it.
Tired of fiddling with a pull chain that doesn't work or listening to a noisy ceiling fan? Most of the newer models offer sleek designs and offer quiet performance powered on and off by a remote. Spend a little more for a reputable brand and your new ceiling fan will last for decades.
You don't need to use the excuse that your shower head leaks to want to replace it. You can blame the DIY urge on me because I believe an aesthetic reason is reason enough. But if you really need a logical reason to replace a functioning shower head: if you add an extension arm, you can change its height.
DIY Home Remodeling Tips
Learn from my mistakes and don't jump into a project with both feet until you research it from beginning to end. Get advice from several sources because those sources will differ. You will discover when it comes to DIY, there are always at least 3 ways to do any job, and all of those ways could be right.
- Top 10 DIY Home Improvement Mistakes
You can learn from the mistakes of others or you can learn from your own mistakes. Personally, I believe it's better to learn from somebody else's mistake. If nothing else, it reduces the number of mistakes you're likely to make by yourself.
- Pet-Friendly Home Remodels
According to the APPA, pets live in more than 60% of all the homes in the United States. In many homes, pets are considered to be part of the family. Before you begin a DIY remodel, you might want to make adjustments in your plans to accommodate your pets.
- 10 Steps for a DIY Kitchen Remodel
When I remodeled my first kitchen, I carried the contents of my existing cabinets into a spare bedroom, grabbed the sledgehammer and banged away on the cabinets before I realized, hey, I could unscrew them from the wall. When I remodeled my last kitchen, I drew up a 10-day plan and acquired every piece of material required before I began down to the nuts and bolts.
DIY Home Improvement Projects: 5-Part Series
Over a 10-year period in my life, I bought, remodeled and sold 5 homes.
I did all the work myself. Following are the stories of those DIY repairs and improvements. The point is if I can do it, anybody can do it. The only thing standing in your way is fear of the unknown.
- DIY Fix-Up and Sell Home #1
Removing carpeting, laying ceramic tile, installing ceiling fans, painting.
- DIY Fix-Up and Sell Home #2
Refinishing wood flooring, stripping and refinishing original woodwork, installing a dropped ceiling and building a storage cabinet between two walls.
- DIY Fix-Up and Sell Home #3
Installing 3 skylights, gutting and remodeling a kitchen, replacing bathroom flooring, carpeting a stairway.
- DIY Fix-Up and Sell Home #4
Building a fireplace, framing, hanging drywall, fixing a leaky deck, including electrical and plumbing work to finish off a lower level.
- DIY Fix-Up and Sell Home #5
Designing and building a garage, installing a kitchen island, replacing basement stairs and building 2 types of decks.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, CalBRE #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.