Even cosmetic projects don’t come cheap. HomeAdvisor estimates that the average cost of a new kitchen is around $23,000, with a high-end one costing $55,000. It’s no wonder that Americans handled roughly 43 million home improvement projects on their own from 2015 to 2017, according to United States census data. Do-it-yourself projects accounted for 38 percent of all home improvements, but just 18 percent of home improvement costs, according to a NerdWallet analysis of census data.
But unlike other home improvement TV stars, the Scott brothers are not fans of D.I.Y., even though they began their careers buying and renovating properties while they were still in college.
Some projects, like installing a backsplash, are manageable after watching enough YouTube videos, they say. But plans can quickly go awry. “Don’t even take it on unless you know you’re willing to finish it,” Jonathan Scott warned.
A contractor will likely get the job done faster and better. “Most people, they don’t value their own time,” said Drew Scott, a real estate broker and the brother who’s usually in a dapper suit walking buyers through the offer process. A failed D.I.Y. project can make a homeowner resent the house “because it’s not turning out the way that they wanted,” he said.
He recommended starting small, with a project that can be done in a day and that isn’t too disruptive. “Maybe there’s an old side table or chair you can refinish,” he said.
Well, sure, but that hardly feels like an accomplishment, unless you think of the fuchsia end table as a conversation piece. “If friends come into your space and they say, ‘I absolutely love that side table, it’s so unique, where did you get it?’” Jonathan Scott said, you can respond with something like: “Oh funny story, I didn’t just buy it at the store.” And then, take it from there.
For bigger projects, the Scott brothers wholeheartedly endorse hiring professionals.
Americans certainly invest heavily in their homes, spending $300 billion a year on home improvements and repairs, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. How are they paying for all this work? Sixty percent of people who responded to a Chase survey said they planned to take out loans to finance it.