With the rise of shows like “Fixer Upper” and “Flip or Flop,” DIY renovations have become one of the hottest trends with today’s homeowners.

But updating your property takes more than a few feet of shiplap and some shabby chic paint — especially if you want your reno done safely, properly, and in an aesthetically pleasing way (not to mention deliver ROI when it comes time to sell.)

Are you thinking of DIYing some choice home upgrades? Make sure you avoid these major mistakes along the way:

1. Forgetting your city permits.

If you’re renovating your home — even just a small portion of it — there’s a high chance you need a permit in order to do so. Permits ensure your building is up to code (so it’s safe for you and future residents) and that it will pass inspections when it comes time to sell. Permitting is also often required by homeowner’s insurers. Agencies usually won’t cover whatever addition or change you’re making unless you’ve had the project properly permitted. To make sure you’re in the clear, call up your city building department to inquire about permitting your project. It usually requires a simple application process and a small fee.

2. Not pricing it out first.

If you don’t want to go beyond your renovation budget, pricing out every step of the project is crucial. From the materials like nails, wood, paint, and fixtures to things like tool rentals, permits, and other expenses, you’ll want a full picture of what the project will cost long before you begin. You don’t want to get halfway in, only to realize you don’t have enough cash to finish things up — or worse, that you’ll need to cut major corners to do so. You might want to consider bringing in a pro to give you a quote on the project; this can give you a good maximum price range to work with.

3. Being loose with your measurements.

There’s no room for error when it comes to measuring. Whether you’re jotting down the width of a door frame or the specs for a new curtain rod, it’s important to be as precise and accurate as possible. Invest in both a sturdy and a flexible measuring tape, so you can double-check your measurements every time. You should also use a level to make sure you’re measuring straight across, and consider utilizing an app like Photo Measures to keep track of your project specs all on your phone. (No more easy-to-lose Post-it notes here!)

4. Skipping the prep stages.

As much as you’d probably like that final product to be in place, don’t rush it. Skipping steps like sanding, priming, tearing out old materials, and even just cleaning can have serious consequences in the long run. Not only can it reduce the quality and longevity of your project, but it also might mean you need more materials — more paint to cover up old layers, thicker wood to hide old flooring, etc. And in the end? That means more cash out of your pocket.

5. Getting lax with safety precautions.

Safety goggles might look goofy, but they’re vital if you’re sawing, sanding, or using power tools. The same goes for work gloves, hard hats, and other safety accessories. From the very start, make sure you invest in the right protective equipment for you and your helpers. Injuries won’t just hurt, they’ll also delay your project, add more costs, and could even lead to a lawsuit.

6. Trying to do too much.

It’s great to want to DIY your home renovations. It makes it more personal, more fun, and more YOU. But make sure you know your limits. Don’t DIY something just to save cash or time. If you’re not well-versed in something — especially something important like electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work — it’s probably best left to the pros. Errors in these types of projects can be extremely expensive to fix, and they might even pose a safety hazard for you and your loved ones. Always consult an experienced pro when in doubt.

7. Spending your budget in the wrong places.

When you have a set budget, it’s important to know what’s worth splurging and what’s worth saving on. Spending half your money on a double-oven when you only cook big meals once a year? That might not be the best use of your investment. Spending half on a professional electrician to come and re-wire your new lighting fixtures? Since that impacts your overall safety, that’d probably be a more apt use of your funds. 

Need help covering your renovation costs?

Are you considering DIYing some improvements around the home? Let us help. An Embrace cash-out refinance can give you the funds you need to add beauty, convenience, and value to your home. Contact a loan officer to learn more!