DIY, but be selec­tive

Some of the best ways to spruce up your prop­erty while keep­ing the costs down at the same time

Whitsunday Times - - REAL ESTATE -

IF YOU own prop­erty there is a good chance you’ll try your hand at im­prov­ing it. But what jobs should you at­tempt to do your­self?

Ac­cord­ing to pro­fes­sional ren­o­va­tor Cherie Bar­ber, founder of Ren­o­vat­ing for Profit, DIY projects can be a great way to keep costs down on a ren­o­va­tion.

But she does be­lieve you have to be selec­tive about which projects you DIY and which you out­source.

Other ex­perts, in­clud­ing Cathy Mor­ris­sey, founder of The Reno Chick, say even the most in­ex­pe­ri­enced DIYer can still find ways to be pro­duc­tive when ren­o­vat­ing.

“You may, for ex­am­ple, be hope­less with a ham­mer but a gun with a cal­cu­la­tor, so play to your strengths and man­age the reno bud­get,” Ms Mor­ris­sey said.

Here are five of the best ways to spruce up your prop­erty.

1. Clean

It isn’t glam­orous but the first job of any home re­fur­bish­ment should al­ways be vig­or­ous clean­ing, Ms Mor­ris­sey says.

Don’t for­get walls, skirt­ing boards, ceil­ings, lights, win­dow dress­ings, in­clud­ing re­mov­ing any re­dun­dant hooks and brack­ets left over from for­mer cur­tain in­stal­la­tions.

“Get out­side with a gur­ney and high-pres­sure hose your front drive­way, any con­crete, pavers, the front fa­cade, the fence and then move in­side to give ev­ery sur­face a re­ally good once over,” Ms Mor­ris­sey said.

“It’s so im­por­tant to do this – any­one can do it – be­cause you can then see what is bro­ken, what needs fix­ing, to help you draft a ‘to do’ list of jobs.”

2. Prepa­ra­tion works

Save big bucks in labour costs by do­ing some of the prep work be­fore any qual­i­fied trades­peo­ple show up.

Per­haps you have solid tim­ber floor­boards un­der your cur­rent daggy car­pet, which you’ll en­gage a spe­cial­ist to sand and pol­ish?

Save time and money by pulling up and re­mov­ing the old car­pet and sweep­ing the area, Ms Mor­ris­sey sug­gests.

3. Paint

It’s one of the first things you learn at kinder­garten, so there’s noth­ing to stop ren­o­va­tors from bright­en­ing their homes with paint.

Natasha Dick­ins, fur­ni­ture builder, DIY ex­pert and founder of Lit­tle Red In­dus­tries says a range of paint prod­ucts have made it easy to freshen up prop­er­ties for low cost.

“Any­one can paint, be it con­crete paving and drive­way paint, garage door paint or metal fence paint, and it makes a huge dif­fer­ence,” she said.

4. Out­door work­ing bee

Cre­ate a more wel­com­ing space by re­fresh­ing your front yard, Ms Bar­ber sug­gests. The same ap­plies to any back­yard area. “Trans­form old paths or the con­crete drive­way with some sim­ple ad­di­tions of sur­round­ing gar­den beds us­ing old sleep­ers or rolled out turf,” she said.

Dick­ins agrees that tidy­ing up your gar­den is one of the sim­plest ways to DIY.

“If you can af­ford a pair of scis­sors, just cut it (bushes) back and it will in­stantly look bet­ter,” she says.

5. Mi­nor kitchen/bath­room tweaks

“Bud­get-friendly cos­metic changes are great op­tions that will in­stantly im­prove the look of your home,” Ms Bar­ber said.

“The kitchen and bath­room are great ar­eas to fo­cus on. For the kitchen, brighten up the space with some lam­i­nate paint to re­fresh the bench­tops or bench­top resur­fac­ing to re­vamp the space.”

Other ideas in­clude buy­ing a “grout pen” to ap­ply fresh bath­room grout in bath­rooms and re­plac­ing the cov­ers on light switches, Ms Dick­ins said.

DIY jobs to avoid

En­gage a qual­i­fied trades­per­son for any prop­erty ren­o­va­tions or restora­tions in­volv­ing: plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal, struc­tural works, in­clud­ing re­mov­ing load-bear­ing walls, in­stalling kitchens and sand­ing/pol­ish­ing wooden floors, un­less you are pro­fi­cient with in­dus­try-grade ma­chin­ery.

“Even if you are a com­pe­tent handy­man on the week­ends, rather than take on a skilled pro­ject your­self to save money, some things are bet­ter left to the ex­perts as you could ac­tu­ally end up de­valu­ing your prop­erty,” Ms Bar­ber said.

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