What’s in your toolbelt?
Like the well known credit card slogan, my question is all about money. What skills are you packing? What’s your plan for adding to your DIY arsenal?
One thing is absolute: DIY Skills are money in the bank.
For years I refused to work on my newer cars. I’d work on an old hot-rod for fun, but I left all the work on our daily drivers to the dealership. That all changed one day when I got taken to the cleaners on a brake job. I went in thinking I needed a bit of maintenance and left over $1200.00 poorer with a bill I couldn’t read.
Something just felt wrong about that so the next time I needed brakes, I did it myself. It was easy and now the same job costs me $150 and a couple of hours on a weekend which, as it turns out, I actually enjoy anyway. I like to fix things.
I’m all for paying professionals when needed. But if I know how to do it properly, and I can do it in two hours on a Saturday, and it saves me $1100.00 then am I not making $550.00 per hour? Is there an error in my math?
That’s the deal with DIY skills at home. It’s money in the bank. When you know how to do things yourself you are far less likely to agree to unnecessary work and you’re not going to fall victim to the “you’re the doctor” mentality when a contractor says you really need to go ahead and replace all your water pipes or every bit of your electrical wiring.
Not only will having skills save you money, it will also proactively make you money. Ability and creativity go hand-in-hand. When you know that you CAN do something, your creative mind begins to see opportunities for where to do it! So, you do projects. You make things better. And that adds value to your home. Value that increases over time as your house appreciates.
If you’re a homeowner, I’d argue that DIY is your greatest ROI investment potential.
Let’s call it RO-DIY: Return on Do-it-Yourself
If your skills are nascent start with something small that still packs a dollar-for-dollar punch.
Here are three projects you can do this weekend while dancing about how you make money moves.
You can teach yourself to paint. It isn’t an appendectomy. That’s not to say that a true professional painter doesn’t have valuable knowledge and skill. They do. If anyone appreciates the skill of a real painter, it’s me.
But professionals are busy painting entire homes, inside and out. They are doing the big jobs for contractors and the whole house jobs that run well into the five-figures. They’re not beating down your door to paint your bathroom one week and your bedroom three weeks later. That’s DIY territory and it can actually be fun if you let it!
YouTube is your friend. You can watch a few videos on painting and get enough information to at least get a good start. And trust me, your skills will grow. As your skills grow, so will your vision and before long you’ll be confident and on-a-roll(er). And when it comes to increasing the value of your home, nothing much compares to the ROI of a fresh coat of paint.
One of the lesser known tricks of the house flippers out there is “replace all the fixtures”. Very little can be done as easily that makes as big of an impact on resale value. No muss, no fuss. Big results.
The fixtures to start with are door hardware, cabinet hardware, lighting fixtures and sink faucets. But you don’t have to stop there. If you look around your home you’ll be surprised how many of the finishing touches are simply “bolted on”. Cabinetry, shutters, shelving and more are the kinds of items that you just remove and replace.
While it might not seem like much, the ROI is impressive and the confidence boost to your DIY skills will propel you onward and upward!
Basic woodworking skills are the cornerstone of a long and happy life as a DIYer. Yet so many would-be weekend carpenters never get started because they don’t want to mess up something important, like the front door, or the kitchen cabinets.
My suggestion is to start outside. Pick an outdoor item that needs repair, such as a wooden gate or a section of rotten trim. Learning is so much easier when you don’t have to think about design. Just replace the damaged piece you see in front of you. Get the same size board, cut it the same length, and screw it in place. Simple.
If you’re already past that level, outside is still a great place to level-up. What about building something like a trellis, or maybe an arched top wooden gate like I did? When you hone your skills outdoors you have the leeway to allow some imperfections in your work. It’s very liberating and there is no better place for growing your skillset.
As a bonus, when it comes to RO-DIY everyone knows that curb appeal is where it’s at!
No matter what, just don’t believe “you’re not wired that way” or “you don’t have a DIY bone in your body”. That’s just a lack of confidence talking. Try. Learn. Grow.
Your home, your spouse, and your wallet will thank you.
What About You?
I’m curious? What DIY Project have you done that felt like it was money in the bank to you? Either it saved you money or it made you money on resale?