Watch for These Common Home Improvement Do-It-Yourself Mistakes

By Kathy Wilson
Special to VanLines.com

On paper, home remodeling projects usually look pretty simple, and you might want to tackle one if you've just moved into a new house In reality, there are often more difficult than they appear.

Weigh the pros and cons of doing a home remodeling project without a professional. Many homeowners attempt a remodeling in order to save money, and then find it wasn't worth it in the long run.

"Take a good, hard look at whether you can -- or want -- to take on a DIY project.  In many cases, it is more time and cost effective to spend overtime at your job and then using that money to hire home remodeling pros, who are also good at what they do.  They can make quick work of your project," says Lee Wallender, the home renovations guide at About.com.

Some homeowners do have the skills to complete a home remodeling project, but most would benefit from looking carefully at the common mistakes do-it-yourselfer's make, and weigh the cost/benefit of a do it yourself project.

1. Taking on jobs you cannot handle. Home improvement books make projects look easy; instead, spend your time at online forums talking to people who actually undertake the projects and can tell you what to expect, says Wallender. This will give you a truer picture of what you're getting in to and whether you really need to hire contractors, whether you're hiring them for a kitchen or bathroom remodeling.

2.  Be realistic about the time and money the project will cost. "Budget 20% more time and up to 50% more money than anticipated," Wallender says. Coming up short on either can doom the remodeling.

3.  Not having a plan to tie in your project and other elements in the home. "Come up with a master plan before knocking down that first wall," warns Wallender.

4. Be realistic about the pressures a remodel will put on your family, particularly a kitchen remodel. "Work on one project at a time, rather than several. Don't do everything DIY -- the pros can speed up the process considerably, making everyone happier," says Wallender. You want to save money, but you also want to keep the pressure off the other members of your family.

Kathy Wilson is a home and garden writer, author and consultant and is the home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com.