Which Renovations Are and Aren't DIY

January 20, 2016

Your buyers like the house — mostly — but the closets could be reconfigured and the bathroom tile has to go. Are those DIY projects, or are they "DIFM" (do it for me)? In a new survey from the Home Projects Council, home owners reviewed a range of home improvements. Most said they would feel comfortable doing the projects in the first chart below, but for the second, it's best to have professional referrals ready.

Home improvements owners are most comfortable doing on their own:

Indoor Outdoor
Install window treatments, curtains, blinds, or shutters Build or install a mailbox
Install new cabinet hardware Stain or paint patio or other concrete surface
Install a closet system or shelves Landscape yard
Install a lighting fixture or ceiling fan Clean, repair, or seal patio or other concrete surface
Install a faucet or shower head Install paver or stone patio or walkway


Home improvements where you'll likely need to refer a pro:

Indoor Outdoor
Install or replace a countertop Pour a concrete patio, steps, or sidewalk
Install cabinets Build a deck
Tile a shower Build an outdoor kitchen, barbecue, or fireplace
Replace wood or vinyl floors Build a fence
Install a backsplash Install or build a shed or storage building


Not surprisingly, the online survey of 514 owners found that DIYers (45% of respondents) spent less on their last home improvement project than DIFM homeowners (55% of respondents).  Regardless of how they described their own skill — beginner, intermediate, or expert — cost was the biggest driver for DIYers; 53 percent said the main reason they did the project on their own was because it was less expensive than hiring a pro. But nearly 30 percent said their main motivation was that they enjoyed the work.

The Home Projects Council is a home improvement think-tank organized by Quikrete, a manufacturer of packaged concrete and cement mixes. Among the members are This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers; Cleveland Plain Dealer home-improvement columnist Jill Sell; Danny Lipford, host of "Today's Homeowner"; and REALTOR® Magazine publisher Stacey Moncrieff. The HPC will be discussing the survey findings Wednesday during a roundtable at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas.

—REALTOR® Magazine