Do-it-Yourself is Overrated!

Real Estate Agent with Virginia Properties, A Long & Foster Co.

I am a home project, died in the wool, do-it-yourself fanatic, so I believe anyone can take on whatever house improvement task they set their mind to - if they are committed.  What people need to realize is that when I take on a project it's usually because I want to; when a home owner decides to make an improvement it's usually because they have to fix something as they're getting ready to sell their house. In this case it's no longer an enjoyable hobby, and the task can quickly feel like a burden rather than an escape.

Many sellers are fine taking on a few things as they think about getting their house "match-fit" to sell. At least until they get half way into the work and realize that it's more than they bargained for when they signed up for it. I love the idea of painting - only the idea of it - but many sellers feel that this is something they can save a few bucks on if they do it themselves. Nevertheless, once they get a couple of brush strokes into it they suddenly realize it's a bit more of a pain than a pleasure. At best, it's more work than they had imagined. At worst they will seek therapy after getting through all of it.  

Only this week we had a client email us as they are getting ready to put their house up for sale. There are a number of small painting projects that seemed manageable. They had committed to hire a professional painter to handle the big stuff, so a few little areas seemed reasonable. Half way into the five-foot square bathroom they were ready to jump out of the window. I believe they did finish, but needless to say the professional will be getting the rest of the house.

Home owners rarely have the experience, tools, time, and of course the patience to take on the apparently "do-it-yourself" project, especially when they are under the gun.  A contractor or handy man comes to the job prepared; they usually don't have to run out to the store every five minutes because they didn't plan properly. They also have the experience to do the job in about one third the time it takes for the average home owner to do it. They look at the work as a job, and while you're at the office doing yours, they're at your home doing theirs. When you get back in the evening the job is completed professionally, usually without the throwing of objects or the loosing of tempers. If it's not done correctly it's not your responsibility to fix it.

I love to take on projects, but I'm the first to admit that when you are getting your house ready to sell, leave it to the professionals. Take a step back and let someone that does this type of work ALL THE TIME do it for you. Save your energy for the new residence, because that's where you want to be anyway. If you're not sure who to get for the job then call your Realtor. They are a wealth of information with lists of contractor contacts and recommendations.

John VanderSyde is an Associate Broker with Virginia Properties, A Long & Foster Company, and is also a Licensed Architect. He and his wife Ann are business partners who believe that HOME is a lifestyle choice. You can learn more about Ann & John by visiting or by calling (804) 282-7300

Comments (2)

Monika Depalo
REAL ESTATE Agent/Stager

Sounds like the don't bite off more than you can chew scenerio.  It would be interesting to see before & after.

Jun 07, 2010 10:41 AM
Susan Brown
Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too) - Kingwood, TX

John, I had to laugh about having to run to the store for all the things you didn't think about needing for the project.  We've done that quite a few times!

Jun 07, 2010 10:45 AM