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Home Flipping: Which DIY Projects Can Save the Most Money (and Which Pose the Most Danger)

Dec 11, 2019 by Aly J. Yale
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As a home flipper, it can be tempting to DIY the bulk of your repairs and improvements. (Heck, you might even find it fun).

No matter how much you enjoy it though, it’s important to choose your DIY projects carefully. If done improperly, some repairs can lead to serious added costs or, even worse, a trip to the ER or some sort of injury.

Which DIY projects can save the most cash?

If you’re simply looking to save some money through DIY, then your best bets are in flooring projects, on the roof, and in the kitchen, according to a new study from home insurance marketplace Clovered.

Here’s a quick look at the savings DIYing these projects can net you:

Project DIY price Pro price  Savings
Tiling a roof $750 $9,800-$50,000 $9,050-$49,250
Install a kitchen backsplash $150 $300-$1,350 $150-$1,250
Install a kitchen sink $99 $200-$1,125 $101-$1,026
Install drywall $150 $300-$10,000 $150-$9,850
Create shelving units $50 $1,540-$5,000 $1,490-$4,950
Tile a shower $300 $1,580-$3,900 $1,280-$3,600

Make sure you know what you’re doing before diving in, though. The same study shows that DIY mistakes can cost you. The average person spends $137.50 to fix a home improvement mistake, with millennials spending even more ($200 a pop, to be exact).

It might not seem like a lot on the surface, but after several mistakes, it can start to add up and eat into that flipping profit.

DIY projects and safety

Though the data above shows there are serious savings to be had in roof work, it’s important to only undertake these projects -- and other high-up ones -- if you’re experienced and knowledgeable in this area.

A recent analysis from home contracting shows that ladders are the most dangerous DIY tool out there, accounting for nearly 200,000 ER visits annually. In fact, your odds of going to the ER due to a ladder-related injury are 1 in 1,680.

General hardware items like nails, screws, and tacks account for the second-most ER visits and injuries, followed by lawn mowers, power saws, and cleaning equipment.

If you’re in the millennial demographic, you have even more reason to be wary: Recent data from SoFi shows that millennials are 23% more likely than baby boomers to land in the ER due to a home repair injury and even more likely to get injured by a power saw. They’re also twice as likely to need stitches from home improvement-related injuries.

The bottom line

When it comes to DIYing your next fix-and-flip investment, work within your wheelhouse. If you have expertise in a specific area, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and do it yourself. But if a project requires deep experience, special skills, or tools on the more dangerous side, then proceed with caution. Using a pro may be the best way to prevent injury and steer clear of costly mistakes that reduce your ROI.

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