Pros and cons of DIY projects

By Angie Kendel

During a recent consult with one of our Realtors® and her clients, we got into a discussion about the options of Doing It Yourself. As someone who has worked in the real estate industry for over 20 years, we have seen many examples of DIY projects. Although DIY can save you some money, if the DIY job is below standard, it can actually prevent your home from selling! The best option is to proceed with caution. If you cannot do it yourself and make it look like it was done by a professional, then hire a professional to do it!

The main reason someone opts for a DIY project is to save money. As long as you can do a great job, it is well worth your time. However, we are often called in to demo and redo poor quality DIY projects that turn buyers off and prevent homes from selling. If a homeowner does an update, they expect to list for a higher price than without the update. However, if the update is of poor quality, then buyers see it as a negative that will require time and/or money to bring up to par. It becomes a negative aspect of the property instead of a positive! The Realtor® is stuck between the seller who expects a better selling price and buyers who do not want the hassle of fixing a bad job. Whether it’s a simple paint job, installing flooring or a bathroom reno, if it is sloppy workmanship, it can have a negative effect on selling your home. Flooring that has been poorly cut with gaps; poor quality tiling jobs; paint jobs that need a second coat or where old paint shows through from underneath are all typical examples we regularly see.

Home staging is no different. Having training and a keen understanding of space and proportions, styles and traffic flow patterns are all key aspects to a successful design. My Realtor® commented on how many houses she has shown that are “staged” by someone who is not a professional. The scale of furniture, accessories and décor is often disproportionate. In some cases, it simply does not make sense; for example, a tall floor plant on a side table beside a sofa or patio chairs across from a sofa. Another common look is a small sofa in a large living room with little else in the space– just to show a sitting area. Staging is about creating a “WOW Factor” when a buyer walks into a room making them fall in love with the space and instantly see themselves living in the space. Staging is not about putting some miscellaneous furniture and accessories in place that do not go well together in color or scale. The Realtor® and homeowner that I met with were sharing their recent experiences where they could tell homes had been “staged” but something was “off”, simply “didn’t look right”, or left them feeling “like something was wrong with the space without being able to put their finger on it”. This experience was why they wanted to work with a professional Home Staging company like ours, to ensure quality design. Unfortunately, DIY staging can have the exact same impact as a poor DIY reno project! Buyers walk through and feel something is off or leaves them feeling like something is wrong with the space. Before you let someone stage your home, find out what kind of training they have! I would only recommend hiring people who have been trained as interior decorators or interior designers. There are many different online courses that can range a few hours to a few days. However, interior decorators and interior designers take years to obtain their training. Go with a professional who has invested the time to know what will make your home look its best!

There is always a fine line between cost savings and producing a professional finished look. When you consider the costs of re-doing a poor quality reno or the effect of turning buyers away because things don’t look right, it often costs less to do it right the first time. If you need to pay additional to redo something, then you are paying twice for the same thing – so it has cost you more! Keep in mind, the longer it takes to sell your home, the more money it costs you for mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, etc. Most of our stage jobs this spring and summer have been selling in less than 2 weeks! Let’s get your home Sold so you can move on!
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