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Getting the most out of DIY outdoor home improvement projects

Posted on Monday, July 13, 2015 at 10:49:13 AM

Not only are homeowners expected to tackle more do-it-yourself outdoor home improvement projects than they did last year, they're prepared to spend more too. 

The Home Projects Council's recent survey of 507 homeowners found that 45 percent of them plan on spending $1,000 or more on DIY outdoor home improvement projects in 2015, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Last year's survey results indicated that 37 percent of homeowners had plans to spend that much. Homeowners looking for home improvement financing for outdoor projects should keep in mind that some projects will provide a substantial return on investment, as opposed to others. 

Brian Clements, Title 1 sales representative with Home Loan Investment Bank, explained that decks, patios and sheds are some of the best projects for homeowners, in terms of ROI. They offer "functionality, more living space and more storage space," he added. 

Curb appeal is another thing homeowners should keep in mind when planning DIY outdoor home improvement projects. Without it, a home for sale won't attract much attention from potential buyers.

"If the home is not appealing from the street, but the inside is immaculate, the lost curb appeal could mean the difference in potential buyers even entering the home," Clements said. "Homeowners can add shrubs, flower beds, walkways, retaining walls, mulch, outdoor lighting and sod to dress up the yard for fairly low cost."

To make sure projects are affordable, homeowners should set up a budget, with a buffer included, and stick to it. It is important to plan thoroughly, and ahead of time, to limit the potential for unpleasant, costly surprises while buying materials and working. 

"Unforeseen circumstances could increase the amount you spend on the project, so always give yourself a goal budget and a hard high-end budget that cannot be exceeded," Clements explained. "Depending on the project you may want to purchase materials in stages so if you do find an issue that proves to be costly, you can adjust the type of materials you planned on using. Or, if possible, cut out a part of the project."

Last but not least, Clements noted that homeowners should turn DIY outdoor home improvement projects into family fun. 

"Get everyone involved and the sense of accomplishment will be very rewarding to everyone in the household," he concluded.