6 DIYs and Repairs for First-Time Homebuyers
Buying your first home is one of the most exciting milestones in life. It’s a time of tremendous change, of big risks and big rewards. It can feel like a blur. Suddenly you go from just a dream of having your own home to the reality of actually being a homeowner.
Take a breath. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. That’s not a bad thing, though it can feel overwhelming to look at your new home and contemplate all the projects that you can DIY for a new home.
It’s good to break things into smaller pieces. If you try to contemplate your entire house and all the DIY projects you want to accomplish all at once, it will be too much. DIY for a new home can include electrical wiring, outdoor projects, interior redesign, carpets, lighting and more.
It’s also important to note that not all new homes are meant to be homes people live in and love. About 11% of home sales come from flipped homes. So perhaps this home is a shorter-term project for you. Even so, some DIY and repairs can make your investment more worthwhile.
Let’s take on DIY for a new home in smaller pieces. Find the areas of your new home that you most want to do DIY for and invest in some smaller projects before taking on something larger.
Even in a new home, the floors might not be exactly what you are hoping for. Whether you find that you don’t have carpet and want it, or have carpet and want it removed, you should consider your floors.
Carpets are actually quite easy to pull up and remove yourself if you don’t want them, making carpet removal a good DIY for a new home. If you are planning to replace carpet with hardwood flooring, you can save yourself a little money simply by removing the carpet yourself. This is a great starter DIY project. Make sure you have a dust mask and knee pads, then take these steps to tear out your carpet:
- Start in a corner and use pliers to pull the carpet away from the tack strips
- Once it’s off the tack strip, you can pull it up by hand along the entire wall
- Fold the carpet back and cut it into strips to make it easier to dispose of
- Leave a little section of overlap anywhere the carpet attaches to another carpet for the installer of your new floor
The hardest part of removing a carpet maybe finding a way to dispose of it, so make sure you have access to a dumpster before you begin. Overall, however, this simple DIY for a new home can save you money and hassle.
But maybe you don’t want to remove the carpet. Maybe you want to add carpet, or simply improve the carpet that is already part of the home. There are opportunities for DIY here, as well.
Picking your carpets can be a big decision. The carpets can set the tone for the rest of the interior, including the colors of walls and designs of furniture. So make sure you love your carpets before moving in and putting furniture on them.
However, all carpets take a beating over time. Even carpets in a new home might require cleaning. And if they don’t know, they will later.
You can hire someone to do carpet cleaning for you. Or you can do carpet cleaning yourself as a DIY project.
If you want to clean your carpets yourself, you can use common household items like a toothbrush, baking soda, dish soap, and your vacuum. This process is a bit manual and is better for removing specific small spots and stains.
Whether you have carpet or not, you probably have some rugs around your new home. An area rug can add a pop of color to a room and completely change the mood and feel of a room. A rug is a creative DIY for a new home. You need to do little more than choose the rug and the room where it will live. This is a great place to start. You can feel good about doing something to improve your new home without having to invest stress, time or huge amounts of money. Once you have a rug, however, you will want to take care of it. You don’t have to spend large amounts of money on an area rug, but you certainly can if you have the means and desire to do so. In either case, rugs get a lot of use. They’re walked on, eaten over and have chairs and other furniture on them. This leads to a lot of damage and dirt over time. As with your new carpets, you should think about cleaning when it comes to your new rugs. You can get professional help with area rug cleaning, or you can try to do the cleaning yourself. If you want to clean your rugs yourself, it’s nice to be able to do it outside. You can even hang the rug on a line between two trees in order to be able to vacuum it on both sides. For a more thorough clean, invest in some carpet shampoos to wash and clean the rug. Let the rug dry completely before giving it a final vacuum to get any last bits you might have missed.
Next, let’s look at the doors. And we don’t just mean your front door, though that’s a great place to begin DIY for a new home.
Your front door is a place where you can start to customize your new home. You don’t need to rip out the door and install a new one to do some DIY, either. There is a lot of simple DIY that you can apply to your door to add your personality to your new home.
Making a wreath for your door is a great way to do some simple DIY and feel at home in your new house. You don’t need to stick to the classics for your wreath, either. Burlap is a great material for a front door wreath. It’s versatile, cheap and tough, meaning it can stand up to some weathering before it fades or takes any damage.
You can also try these unconventional wreath materials:
- Old hoses and garden tools that aren’t useful anymore
- Skeleton leaves
- Scrap fabric
- Chicken wire
- Stuffed toys
- Old puzzle pieces and other toys
- Yarn or rope
- Floral wire
- Natural materials like leaves, pinecones and twigs
- Paper, such as origami paper or newspaper
You can use pretty much anything you have to make a wreath. These are just some suggestions to get you started.
But your front door is not the only door in your home. Think also about other doors like the backdoor or even the garage door. If you have a garage, the door is actually a place you can and should think about. Even a fresh coat of paint can do a lot to improve your garage door.
Garage doors also take a pretty hard beating from just being exposed at all times and having to move up and down. Things like the springs can wear out over time. It’s a good idea to get familiar with how your garage door works so you can fix it yourself if you should need to.
You may or may not be happy with the walls of your new home. Fortunately, you are not doomed to the walls you find when you first move in. Drywall is a good DIY for a new home.
If you want to install some drywall yourself, you can do it with some basic tools and know-how. To install drywall, simply follow these steps:
- First, make studs in the wall
- Then insert drywall screws to hold your wallboard in place
- Measure so you can trim your wallboard
- Score the front of your board
- Snap the board along the score
- Cut the paper backing to complete the cut
- Apply adhesive
- Press the drywall into place
- Secure it with screws
- Check the edges
- Secure with more screws
This is a basic checklist for putting in your drywall. However, you will need to take additional steps if you have complications such as outlets that you have to mark and cut around.
Of course, DIY for a new home is not always so simple and straightforward. Especially when it comes to walls, there can be a lot of extra complications, such as the presence of asbestos and electrical wiring.
If you have a more serious issue or more complicated problem, you may want to contact a contractor to help you with your DIY project.
5. Electrical Wiring
Let’s take a second and talk about electrical wiring. It deserves its own section in a discussion about DIY for a new home.
Electrical wiring is extremely technical and complicated. This may not be the best DIY project for all homeowners. A lot could go wrong, sometimes with steep consequences.
However, there are electrical wiring projects that are appropriate DIY projects even for new homeowners. With the proper amount of respect for how complicated electrical wiring can be, you can find projects that are much simpler. Start with the easier projects and work you way up to any DIY for a new home that involves electrical wiring.
A good place to start is appliances. Appliances like flat-screen TVs need to be mounted to a wall and connected to existing electrical wiring. This is a good place to start to understand the wiring in your home. You will probably be able to follow a guide that comes with the television and explore the wiring in a low-risk way.
You could also install simple lighting or fans. These, like a television, need to connect to existing wiring but might be a little more complicated than a television. If you put in lighting in your kitchen or a fan in your bathroom, for example, you can learn a lot about your wiring and up your expertise.
A final DIY for a new home that relates to electrical wiring is installing a garbage disposal. This is a handy thing to have around, but it has to be hooked up to the existing electrical wiring in your kitchen.
6. Outdoor Projects
Let’s not forget the outdoor spaces in your house! There are a lot of spaces outside that provide good opportunities for a DIY for a new home.
For example, you could do outdoor lighting installation to brighten up a back yard and make it more usable for more hours of the day. Outdoor lighting doesn’t have difficult to install as it may sound, but you can always get the assistance of a contractor if you feel overwhelmed by the project.
A lot of outdoor lighting is low voltage and can just get plugged into an existing outdoor outlet. Here, the DIY opportunity lies in how the lighting is displayed. You could incorporate it into a garden or place it along a walkway to make your lighting attractive as well as functional.
You might also opt for solar lighting install. This is an even easier DIY for a new home, as you won’t need to worry about wiring. Check the packaging and manufacturer website for instructions on installation.
Finally, think about your lawn. Lawn care is about more than just giving the law a cut when it gets unruly. With a little ambition, you can transform your yard into a stunning landscape that you genuinely enjoy indulging in. This is a great DIY for a new home, as it offers a lot of opportunities to be creative while beautifying your home.
For example, you could plant a functional garden of fruits and vegetables. Or you could plant an aesthetic one with flowers of various colors and shrubs and trees. You could even install paths, fountains, and statues to enhance the beauty of your home.
No matter where you decide to start, whether you plan to go simple or dream big, doing DIY in your new home can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It will help you settle into and truly understand the intricacies of your home. Plus, it will add your personality to the house, making it feel truly like a home.