By Enzo Raimondo

THEY call it “reality” television and shows such as House Rules, Better Homes and Gardens, and, of course, The Block, have certainly fuelled our enthusiasm for DIY.
The recent screening of The Block, where four apartments in an inner Melbourne suburb were auctioned off, drew strong interest nationally.
The popularity of DIY has increased significantly as a result of our interest in such home improvement shows – and hardware and building supplies stores are reaping the benefits.
Business information analysts Ibisworld released a report earlier this year showing their revenue was up thanks to the increase in renovation projects and DIY.
The report said the almost 6000 businesses in the sector had shown annual growth of about 3.5 per cent over the past five years with the past two financial years in particular helped by “greater expenditure on DIY renovations and home improvement projects”.
But while these homeowners think they are adding value to their homes – and some are – there are many pitfalls for the amateur.
Sub-standard DIY work can not only make a poor first impression, but have buyers worrying about what else has been badly done.
Among the problems agents say can make a notably bad impression: poorly fitted kitchen or bathroom cabinets, poorly fitted carpets, visible wiring and a below-average paint or tiling job.
But if you are planning to DIY, take care, as there’s a range of implications.
Not all are financial; there’s a need to make sure that the work is safe to undertake yourself.
And even DIY done well will not add value if the home is overcapitalised – that is, more spent on it than could be recouped in a sale – or if the amount spent is more than people are willing to spend on homes in the area.
Work must be done well, which means being sure you have the skills and experience for the tasks and, if not, hiring professionals to do it.
It is not cost-effective and is potentially dangerous to attempt work such as wiring. While this may seem expensive, it can boost the price of your home.
Before starting, it’s worth researching the price of renovated homes in your area that are of a similar size, to check on the potential value of the renovation. Then you’ll be able to proceed, and ensure that you make a significant return on your investment.
Enzo Raimondo is the CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.