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Important DIY Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

New to having your own place, and don't want to splurge on repairmen all the time? Here are the DIY tips every homeowner should know—if they want to save dinero!

By Mackenzie LuPublished 6 years ago 8 min read

Owning your own place, or even renting your own place, is expensive. Like, really expensive. While affording rent alone can be a feat for some, the truth is that most people will panic the moment they discover that they need something repaired in their home. It's understandable; repairs are not cheap!

Most repairmen will charge you anywhere from $25 to $150 per hour, depending on what you want to get done. That's a lot of money. If you want to save money and avoid calling up the handyman, we suggest learning these important DIY tips every homeowner should know.

Whenever you do a DIY project for your home, over-budget and over-prepare.

You know how Pinterest tells you about the WonderMom who managed to somehow craft an entire dinner table using only $50 worth of chopsticks and glue? Yeah, don't expect that to be a reality.

Most DIY projects will be over-budget, and may also have a couple of bumps along the way. In fact, even experienced DIY project workers will have mistakes from time to time.

This is one of the most important DIY tips every homeowner should know, primarily because not knowing it will leave a terribly cobbled-together disaster, and a loss of money in your pocket.

That being said, there's a couple of things you should keep in mind before starting any DIY project:

  • Have at least 20 percent more money than you think you'll need for this. You'd be surprised at how many hidden costs there are in every project. Plan accordingly, and don't start a major DIY project if you can barely afford it. If you don't spend the extra money, just sock it away for the next project.
  • Overprepare, and underestimate your skill. If you are not 100 percent sure you know what you're doing, ask for help or choose another project. If you are not sure that you can finish the job, understand that it's often better to just call a professional.
  • If you're looking for DIY projects that add value to your home, do your research. This is one of those DIY tips every homeowner should know if they're trying to prep for resale. Not all home improvement projects are the same in value. For example, you might get a lot more benefit from a painted home exterior, than you would a new kitchen floor—though both may end up costing the same.

Basically, planning is how to win the DIY project game.

If you aren't sure what home repair to do, have a pro inspect it.

You can't fix what you don't know is broken. If you don't know what's broken, or if you aren't sure if you should even try to do a home improvement, asking a house inspector, or a professional repairman, for a diagnostic is a good way to learn.

The best way to deal with new DIY territory is to have a friend who knows what they're doing help you out.

It's a really, truly wonderful thing to have friends who know how to build things. One of the best DIY tips every homeowner should know involves asking for advice when you're not sure what to do.

In lieu of friends who are good with their handiwork, the next best thing is a reliable YouTube tutorial, or a book that gives you an easy to understand step-by-step guide to the project.

When in doubt, painting something is the best (and easiest) project to take on.

A little bit of paint can give your home a major facelift, and also can help you gain more money for resale. That's why one of our favorite DIY tips every homeowner should know is to start your DIY journey with a coat of paint.

Spraying a wicker chair a new color, or even just painting a single room, can add a nice splash of color, a little confidence, and help you learn the joy of DIY.

Skip the retro look.

If you're looking to improve home value, there are certain DIY tips every homeowner should know and follow. The cardinal rule of home improvement and house value maintenance is to scrap things that leave your home dated.

Not sure what's making your home look retro? Watch for these things, and get them out of your house, ASAP.

  • Shag Rugs. The 70s were a weird era where dust-collecting health hazards were considered sexy. It's best to leave these rugs in the past and replace them with something less awful.
  • Popcorn Ceilings. Popcorn ceilings are one of the single most dated looks you can apply to your home's look. It's best to leave this to the theaters, and scrape the popcorn off.
  • Paisley Wallpaper. Anything that 60s probably needs a major overhaul. Believe it or not, Decorating Divas says that wallpaper is one of the top points of contention for new homeowners. So, you might want to remove that.
  • Formica Countertops. These were all the rage in the 50s. If you still have them now, you may need to put your home into the right century.

But seriously, retro does not fare well. Just removing retro features is one of the most affordable ways to make your house look expensive—without the actual million-dollar price tag.

If you're looking for super-easy DIY projects that don't involve paint, here are some of the better ones to choose from.

Simply put, most of the best DIY tips every homeowner should know deals with the easiest projects out there. Here are some that realtors, home improvement gurus, and other experts suggest for newbie DIY project fans:

  • Add a smart thermostat. You can get a lot of perks by making your home a smart home. The right thermostat or security system can make things incredibly comfortable and cost-effective, especially if you're looking to stay at your location for a while.
  • Consider installing cost-effective appliances. Washers and dryers that use less energy and water are great investments, as are almost any appliance that will cut bills over the long run. Even replacing your regular light bulbs with smart bulbs, or placing a brick in your toilet's water supply tank can help you slowly save cash on bills.
  • Really work on your home's exterior appearance. A well-manicured lawn makes a huge difference in sales value, and if you really want to get cooking, make a point to keep up with seasonal decorations. So, invest in fall decor during autumn months, winter decor during the holidays, and summer goodies for the hotter months.
  • Get rid of clutter. Clutter does nothing good for your home, and can actually cause the value to drop. So, get rid of it. It's a home improvement project that will continue to pay off; and it's a project that's totally free.
  • Change your switch plates, faucets, door knobs, and toilet seats. These small tweaks can refresh your place like few things can.

A lot of the most annoying repairs you want to get done are actually surprisingly easy.

We all know that maintenance goes a long way, but what happens when you already have stuff that's busted? Well, you can repair it. Here are some of the best DIY tips every homeowner should know when it comes to the most obvious issues.

  • Unstick a window by spraying WD-40 on it. No more jammed windows, and this repair only takes a second. Any form of dry PTFE lubricant will help with this issue.
  • DIY your own shut off valve fix. Replacing a shut off valve is a cinch, and it only costs a small portion of a handyman call. For shut off valves that aren't easy to replace, don't worry; it's a 10-minute fix. Turn off the main water valve, remove the packing nut, then take a moment to unscrew the valve's stem. Remove the stem and find a replacement washer. Clean out the valve's body as best you can, then reassemble the valve with the new washer on it. It should work like new.
  • Use expanding foam to hold loose pipes in place or fix small gaps in your building. Spray the foam in, cut the foam that's bubbling away, and you're good to go.
  • Spray bleach on your ceiling to get rid of water stains. Ideally, this will be done on a white ceiling, and you'll have already checked for issues like black mold.

Have an overall finished look in mind, before you start.

Ever see a home that looked oddly cobbled together? It doesn't look too good, does it? Most homes that were "improved" without a plan end up being branded as fixer upper-grade homes after the "improvements" were done.

The reason why is that many people tend to come up with projects that are meant to improve their overall home, but forget how it'll mesh with what's already there. Then, they end up losing sight of the initial goals of their project.

The end result? A kludged-together mess of a house. Don't do that to yourself. Plan better, and you'll get better results.

If you're new to DIY stuff, don't buy tools—rent them.

Renting is cheaper when it comes to getting quality tools, especially if you're not the type to do DIY improvements regularly. So, why would you buy tools that you may or may not actually want to use again?

By avoiding the mistake of buying tools you won't reuse, you save money on the project and also avoid the dangerousness that is clutter. An online search will show you a slew of different ways you can rent tools cheaply.

Lastly, if you're doing something really major to your home, check local laws.

Last on our list of the most important DIY tips every homeowner should know is the one that can keep you from getting fined. HOAs are legitimately capable of kicking you out of your own house, if you do not pay attention to local ordinances.

Before you attempt anything seriously major, check with local laws. You may find that what you want to do has more red tape than you'd want to deal with—and that alone can save you a lot of time, effort, and tears.


About the Creator

Mackenzie Lu

Namaste. Active yogi and life enthusiast. It has become her mission to spread the benefits of having the mind, body, and soul in tune with one another.

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