The Basic of DIY Home Renovation

Why get your hands dirty by doing the work yourself?

The obvious answers are that it's fun and can save you money, sometimes big bucks. I want to emphasize that fun and savings go hand in hand. But this has a downside few people realize. You really must love doing the work in order to succeed. If, as a homeowner, you do it just to save the money, chances are it will be a long and trying project. On the other hand, if you love doing it, time will fly by and the money saved, though important, will actually seem an added bonus.

Thus the question becomes: How well suited are you to doing renovation work yourself? Is it the sort of thing you really want to and can do? In short, we're going to organize your personal outlook. We're going to find out your "renovation aptitude"!

The Renovation Fantasy

Almost everyone has a secret desire or fantasy. One of the most common that I've observed is the desire to run a successful restaurant. For some reason, almost all of us seem to think that we would make great restaurateurs.

I assume it's the thought of serving truly marvelous meals to other people that's so appealing. Perhaps we see ourselves in a tuxedo or evening dress escorting elegant customers to tables set with fine linen and antique silverware. Or it may be impressing others with our knowledge of vintage wines. Or it may be preparing and serving ethnic meals that we loved as children and now hunger for as adults.

Whatever the fantasy, the reality is almost always jarringly different. The restaurant business is tough and competitive at all levels, and most people who go into it without extensive background, particularly in food service and in financing, fail. Chances are that if one of your secret goals is to be a great restaurateur, you can forget it. The statistics suggest that you will fail at great expense.

To a lesser degree, the same problem prevails in home renovation. Looking at a project, thinking of the money to be saved by doing it yourself, you say to yourself, "Yes, that's just the thing for me!" However, is it really for you?

Remember, a renovation project can involve:

- Hard, tedious work.
- Working with subcontractors and other people you may not particularly like.
- Discovering only at the end of the project that you really aren't able to turn it out as planned.
- Realizing that you really don't have the time to do the work your¬self.

I'm not trying to scare you away. I'm simply pointing out that home renovating, like any endeavor, also has a downside. Simply loving the work and anticipating the profits won't cut the mustard. You also have to be prepared for the hard knocks.

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