In 2019, the annual expense on residential improvements and repairs by homeowners is projected to surpass $350 billion. But young homeowners can save money through DIY home improvement projects, but those projects come with their own risks. According to a new report by NerdWallet, homeowners have completed 113 million home improvement projects by themselves between 2015 and 2017, but 43% of them say they’ve messed up a project.
In their report, NerdWallet researchers examined data from the Census Bureau’s biennial American Housing Survey. The Survey polled consumers on home projects they’ve completed in the last two years in 2017.
NerdWallet additionally surveyed 2,001 U.S. adults, which included 1,353 homeowners, with The Harris Poll between September and October 2018.
NerdWallet found that younger homeowners between the ages of 25 and 29 were more likely to tackle home improvement projects on their own, approximately 59% of the time.
Holden Lewis, a home expert with NerdWallet, says this high percentage could be due to the fact that younger millennials are bogged down with student loan debt. This debt means millennials are less likely to find homes in their price range that don’t require any additional renovations. It also means that millennials are more likely to do these renovations themselves. And approximately 34% of people buying homes are first-time homebuyers.
“The younger you are, you tend to be making less money and have less savings, and so you’re doing a lot yourself,” said Lewis.
When done correctly, a DIY home improvement project could save a significant amount of money. For instance, bathroom remodels can provide a 70% return on investment.
NerdWallet found that the median DIY expense for a bathroom remodel was $1,500. However, the median expense with a professional is $5,500.
The problem is that there’s a risk homeowners could mess up their DIY project and end up spending even more money. NerdWallet found that a little over four in 10 homeowners have botched a DIY home project and 35% said a home improvement show had inspired them to take on a project that ended badly.
“People sometimes are overconfident in their ability,” said Lewis.
The good news is that most homeowners are more cautious when it comes to more complicated projects. NerdWallet found that consumers were more likely to attempt a DIY improvement project on a bedroom or landscaping renovation compared to something like roofing or electrical.
It’s crucial, Lewis says, to accurately gauge your own handiness before undertaking a renovation. Sherry Petersik, a DIY home improvement blogger, also says it’s important to hire a professional when there’s a risk involving personal injury.
“No amount of saving money is worth a human life being harmed,” said Petersik.