Because homeownership in the U.S. remains costly due to inflation and gentrification, many house hunters are opting to purchase older, “handyman specials” that require moderate to extensive repairs, rather than newer, ready-to-move-in models. And while many homeowners who snatch a fixer-upper gladly outsource the repairs and upgrades to licensed contractors, increased numbers are taking on the jobs themselves. These Do-it-Yourself homeowners have reshaped the Home & Garden industry by bringing their dream homes into fruition through their own hard work — and starkly under budget.

In 2013, the value of the global DIY market was approximately 31.9 billion U.S. dollars. In 2014, home improvement stores in the United States generated a revenue that amounted to about 144 billion U.S. dollars.

A March 2018 surveys conducted by DIY craftsmen The Carey Brothers, found that 41 percent of Americans will be remodeling this year, second only to interior decorating.

Another 35 percent are landscaping, and 25 percent will be gardening, according to the same survey; followed by plumbing and exterior repair jobs at 22 percent.

D.C. homeowner Diane Wedge counts herself among the DIY divas who have single-handedly salvaged the home improvement market across the country. The 43-year-old accountant said she grew increasingly frustrated with hiring contractors to do work on her Hillcrest 3-bedroom colonial, that seemed never to be completed.

“Most Americans consider themselves to be savvy shoppers and informed consumers, but the reality is that some industries require a certain level of trust. When a mechanic tells you that your car requires $1000 worth of work, you assume you’re not being cheated; but you cannot be sure,” Wedge told The Informer. “I wasn’t comfortable in extending that level of trust to plumbing contractors and decided to research the problem and tackle it myself.”

Wedge and two of her college friends searched online tutorials, attended a handful of Home Depot classes, and were able to tackle a drainage issue in a matter of hours.

“From that moment forward, we realized that with so much information readily available, the only thing keeping us from taking on most of our household repairs was a commitment to doing the work,” Wedge said.

In short order Wedge and her friends completed many of the plumbing, electrical, roofing and gutter work, and even backyard deck and landscaping jobs at their homes.

Wedge is not alone, as a whopping 75 percent of home repairs, additions, and remodels will be done by the homeowners themselves, with the average overall budget for DIY jobs increased to $3,800, up from $1,000 just three years ago.

According to Hitwise, a data research company, Fast-rising DIY searches during the month of May included saws and router bits, power and pressure washers, and most predominantly wallpaper. In fact, the DIY audience is 3,773 percent more likely than the average American to search for wallpaper. Baby Boomers, said Hitwise, were among the most significant drivers of the spending on home improvement and their influence on the market is estimated to grow through 2025.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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