For many homebuyers, the chance to own property is all about getting the opportunity to make your home, the way you want it. Want a space with a centering yoga area? Looking for a backyard with enough room to build the chicken coop you’ve always dreamed about?
When you buy a home, you get to make the decisions, and create a space that will truly work for you. For many buyers, this means taking on DIY projects. Here in Chicagoland and around the country, homeowners are embracing DIY — short for “Do It Yourself” — in many ways, from building their own furniture, to making minor home updates, to taking on significant renovation projects.
Whether you’re seeking out a new home, updating your current space, or even looking ahead to selling your property down the line, you may have DIY on your mind. Based on recent research and reporting, here are three key things to know now:
1.) Younger Homebuyers Are Embracing the DIY Spirit
Younger homebuyers are increasingly making up more and more of the real estate market. In fact, Gen Y/millennials recently accounted for 37 percent of all buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2019 “Generational Trends Report.”
And among that group, there’s a real interest in working on the homes they buy, including taking on more DIY projects than other generations.
A 2019 study cited by CNBC found that nearly 68 percent of millennials say that they would buy a “fixer upper” home, or one that needed work. Only 61 percent of Gen X buyers and 46 percent of baby boomers said the same.
Meanwhile, according to a major study from the home services site Porch, millennials spent more on DIY projects than older generations in 2019. Millennials, on average, spent $405 per job — higher than both Gen X ($345) and baby boomers ($331). Millennials also attempted more DIY home projects than baby boomers, completing an average of 4.6 projects per person, compared to baby boomers’ 4.3.
2.) Why Are Homebuyers and Homeowners Interested In DIY?
Taking on a DIY job can be fulfilling, and give you the opportunity to really make a mark on your living space. At the same time, many buyers and homeowners dive into DIY because they believe that they already have the skills needed, and see it as an opportunity to save money, compared to hiring a professional. And for others, it’s simply satisfying to work with their hands, and pick up projects during their free time.
According to data collected by Porch, here are the five biggest reasons that people attempted DIY projects in 2019:
- Saving money (33 percent)
- Enjoy doing projects (20 percent)
- Seemed easy (17 percent)
- Already had the experience (13 percent)
- Opportunity to bond with others (8 percent)
3.) The Costs and Benefits of DIY
Taking on projects can offer some real advantages to DIY-ers, whether they’re buying a home, settling in, or even looking to sell in the near future.
For instance? Many homeowners see DIY improvement projects as a way to add some value to their property, particularly right before going to the market as a seller. The 2019 “Cost Vs. Value” report from Remodeling Magazine found that the average cost to value ratio of home improvement projects is about 66.1 percent, overall. According to that same report, some select projects can offer a notably higher rate of return, including replacing a garage door (which allowed buyers to recoup 97.5 percent of their costs on average), performing a minor kitchen remodel (80.5 percent return), adding a wooden back deck (75.6 percent return), or replacing siding (75.6 percent return).
And beyond value? For many homeowners looking to get their homes ready to list, making a few improvement projects will often be necessary for attracting buyers. For new homeowners, taking on a few projects can allow you to put a personal stamp on your property, and make it feel like that new home is truly yours. Perhaps this is why, per Porch, homeowners completed significantly more DIY projects than renters in 2019. Homeowners also took on more “big ticket” projects, with owners spending $412 per DIY effort, to renters’ $275.
At the same time, for homebuyers, sellers, and owners, it’s important to remember that tackling a DIY project always comes with a risk. Research shows that DIY-ers are prone to making mistakes which can add a significant amount of time and money to their projects.
For example, among homeowners who attempted DIY flooring installation, 27 percent said they made a mistake at some point, adding 13.8 hours and $829 to the project. On the lower end, roughly a quarter (25.1 percent) who attempted to add tiling said they made a mistake, which added an average of three hours to their workload and $60 to their budget.
According to findings from Porch, a DIY mistake contributes 5.5 hours to a project, and adds $310 in extra costs, on average. What’s more, among couples, nearly 46 percent said that they fought over DIY projects when a mistake occurred. 21 percent said they fought over DIY, even without a mistake being made.
Before attempting a major home project, it may help to consult with an experienced local real estate broker. A real estate professional can help you understand what home projects will make the biggest impact based on local market trends for your area, allowing you to make the most of your budget and your time, whether you go DIY or look for professional help.
Finding the Chicagoland Home of Your Dreams
Whether you’re in the market for a total fixer upper or something move-in ready, Baird & Warner is here to help make home buying easier, at every step of the way. Our thousands of hyperlocal agents are experts in all things Chicagoland real estate, and are ready to turn a complex process into one that is smarter and more seamless, from the day you start envisioning your future home to the day you’re handed the keys.
Whether you want to explore a new neighborhood, talk over your budget, or weigh the pros and cons of DIY with the insights of a Chicagoland real estate expert, we can help.