Top Tips for Stress-Free DIY

So, you're finally going to do it. You're going to put the nagging behind you and surrender your weekend to DIY. But how do you avoid becoming the latest victim of disastrous DIY? This article helps take the strain out of DIY with this list of top tips.

1. Failing to plan means... Before you so much as pick up a paint brush, draw up a job list. Outline everything you want to do then start working out what you'll need to do it. This will help you lay out a total budget for your project and let you work out if you need a personal loan to get the job done. If you're renovating to sell, the general rule of thumb* for the cost of a new kitchen is between 4% and 6% of your property value, for a new bathroom it's 2% to 3% and landscaping spend 1% to 2%.

2. It's 90% preparation, 10% perspiration... Charging into a room with hammer and nails never did anybody any favours, so get all the prep out the way to begin with and you'll avoid a few potential pitfalls. By taking simple steps like taping off your skirting and covering your floors you'll end up with cleaner lines and you won't have to handle the annoyance of trying to clean paint out of the carpet.

3. Hit the road... Renovations are dirty, dusty, noisy things. If you can't see yourself doing without power or water while work is underway, make sure you get the short term rental apartment sorted sooner rather than later so you can relocate for a while.

4. Everyone likes a bargain, but... The difference between budgeting and being cheap could mean the difference between your house falling down or not. Don't cut back on quality - if you get good materials to begin with you'll save yourself a lot of bother in the long run. Just imagine how much of a nightmare that cheap door will be in two months time when it sticks and locks you in the bathroom on the day of that important meeting.

5. You're only as good as your tools... It's worth splashing the cash on a good box of tools. You want robust materials that will go the distance and see a few years through. Take cheap paint brushes - the aggravation of plucking loose hairs out of wet paint will suck out all the joy from that savvy purchase.

6. Power up... When you've got about a hundred screws that need drilling, don't mess about - power tools will save you heaps of time and ultimately will help you avoid an RSI from your faithful but frustrating Phillips screwdriver.

7. The small stuff... For some reason, regardless of the DIY job you're doing, there are always small bits of metal to be found everywhere when it's time to clean up. Use a magnet to get these swept up without effort.

8. Avoid the never-ending project black hole... There's nothing like a party to get people shifting. Book a barbeque with friends as the official unveiling of your nice new decking and you can guarantee the project will get done.

9. 'Tis the season... Choose the time of year for your project wisely - be realistic about how long a project will take and adjust your dates if you need to. It goes without saying that not having a roof in winter is not a pleasant experience.

10. Know your limits... When all else fails call in the professionals. Why do the job yourself when someone else can do it so much better than you? Remember the old saying: if you can, do, if you can't, get a home improvement loan. There's loads of help out there - from electricians, who can stop you from sizzling your eyebrows, to colour consultants, who can get your paint colour scheme just right.

Before you embark on your home DIY projects, make sure you determine your budget and stick to the plan. Write down all the materials and tools that you need to complete the project and list down the prices of each item.

And if your ideas happen to be bigger than you had planned for, a personal loan is a great way to top up your savings, and with a special lower interest rate until the end of 2012, now is a great time. Use a personal loan calculator, to see how much your repayments could be.

*Money Magazine, 2006 Buyers agent Nicole Graham of Sydney Property Finders

This article is brought to you by Umi - A personal loan that's available online, enabling customers to apply at a time that suits them. Umi believes in saving people time and hassle, so you can apply for a personal loan online in less than 15 minutes, anytime from anywhere. No queues!


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