Renovating to Sell: Is DIY the Path to Success?

Before you sell your home, take stock of its pluses and minuses; you can boost its appeal by doing some DIY projects, without spending big bucks for renovation.

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Renovating to Sell: Is DIY the Path to Success?

Posted by Gary Ashton on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 at 8:43am.

When to DIY or Hire a Professional?Before you consider picking up a hammer or a paintbrush to tackle even minor home renovations, ask yourself an important question: Do I want to dwell or sell?

If the answer is that the home needs some "spiffing up" to make it more attractive to potential buyers, take it a step further and ask yourself a hard question about your talent and expertise. If you're uncertain about your ability, this may not be the time to spend time, energy and money to find out whether you can complete the job to professional standards.

7 things to consider before you take on a DIY project:

  1. How Much Value Will Be Added?
  2. What Is the Expected ROI?
  3. Is a Permit Required?
  4. Must the Work Be Inspected?
  5. What Is the Project Scope?
  6. What Is the Time Frame?
  7. Are There Better Ways to Add Value?

When you think about selling, you'll naturally want to set the asking price as high as possible. If cosmetic improvements will boost the value, then it is certainly worth it to spend a few dollars to make more on the sale. Be realistic, however: Many prospective buyers will look beyond the obvious if the Murfreesboro home shows potential. In fact, a majority of buyers today report that they expect to make some minor repairs after closing on a home purchase.

Buyers are wowed by kitchens and baths. You can expect good return by adding new countertops and appliances, or by updating a bathroom. Added insulation is a selling feature, as is new flooring, particularly wood. Many of these, however, are not considered DIY projects. For a new furnace or a new roof, you'll almost always want a professional.

The DIY Way to a Sale

If on the other hand, a fresh coat of paint in bedrooms, trendy lighting and hardware, and new window blinds would add style and boost appeal, go ahead and complete those projects yourself. Just be aware of quality as you choose materials and do the work. Ensure that the choices you make are in keeping with current trends and that the updates don't make the rest of the house look dowdy.

Expect a financial return of between 65 and 90 percent on moderately-priced professional renovations. Small cosmetic updates may not boost the sales price substantially, but can you sell faster; that's also a financial gain. Staging a home for sale has major benefits; schedule a consultation with a professional stager, but do the work yourself. It's always helpful.

Boost curb appeal and freshen up your entry with new lighting and pots of flowers—great ways to add value—and both are easy DIY projects!

The Professional Route

If you're thinking about an addition, a new roof, redoing a bathroom or renovating the kitchen, chances are you will probably need plans and a permit. Sometimes, even building a fence requires municipal approval and, perhaps, a new survey. For example, if you're hoping to work on your home in Hendersonville, you would need to go through the proper Hendersonville channels in order to get everything done correctly. Expect delays, and there will be fees.

While you may be confident about your ability to hang a ceiling fan, or replace a leaky faucet, most major electrical and plumbing repairs must be completed by licensed contractors. Never skirt the rules. If you know there are plumbing and electrical shortcomings in your home, or that a new furnace is needed, consider offering an allowance rather than attempting to make do on the cheap. It may be better to save your cash for your new home, and sell an existing property "as is."

How to Select a Contractor for Your Home Improvements

The contractor you select for home improvements will have a big impact on the way the home improvement is carried out. Hiring a good contractor can help ensure the work will be done right and according to local codes. When choosing a contractor, start by interviewing at least three candidates. Each candidate should have a good reputation in your community, should be licensed or certified to do the work being done, and should have experience.

Ask each candidate the same questions. This makes it easier to compare different contractors. Good questions to ask contractors include:

  • When can you start the job?
  • How long will you take?
  • What strategies will you use to finish the work?
  • How much experience do you have with this type of work?
  • Do you have pictures of previous work you've done?

Before you hire a contractor, check references. Ask references the same questions, such as:

  • Would you hire this contractor again?
  • Were you satisfied with the work?
  • How long ago did you work with this contractor?
  • What kind of work did you hire the contractor to do?

If the work your contractor is doing is substantial, get a contract. Read the contract thoroughly before signing. The contract should include details such as when the work will begin, who will be responsible for clean up, how much the work will cost and where the work will be done. Keep a copy of your signed contract to refer back to later.

Plan Accordingly For New Home Renovations

Whether you do the Nashville new construction yourself or call in an army of contractors will vary based on your home's needs, your expertise, your timing and your motivation. Whatever you decide, remember that there is a difference between remodeling to dwell and renovating to sell! Check with real estate agents and professional contractors before making your final decision.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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