6 Warning Signs You’re Addicted To Home Renovations

Xavier De Buck
Published on September 20, 2016

6 Warning Signs You’re Addicted To Home Renovations

6 Warning Signs You’re Addicted To Home Renovations

Addicted To Home Renovations

Home renovations addiction has been referred to as “Remodeling Addiction”,Do-It-Yourself Addiction”, “Home Renovation Obsession” and “Home Improvement Addiction”.

Whatever you want to call it, it could potentially be a real problem!

For clues to the scope of this issue, you don’t need to look any further than the queues on any given weekday at your local DIY hardware store, but especially on a weekend or public holiday!

The amount of revenue trading hands in the home renovations industry is staggering, and even in an economic downturn, it shows no signs of letting up.

It’s a multi-MULTI-billion dollar industry!

And while arguably the majority of those patrons are either contractors or home improvers who are committed to limited projects, there are also present those who are regulars…

Those who frequent the local hardware stores and building material suppliers week-in and week-out

Those who have moved from the realm of “working on a project(such as a kitchen revamp or bathroom renovation), or just being a DIY “hobbyist”, to possessing a full-blown obsession with home renovations…

Are you one of them?

Have a look at the list below and think about which category you are in:

The “I don’t have a problem” category?

Or, “I better watch myself or this could become a problem” category?

Or, in the worst-case scenario, “HELP! I’M A HOME RENOVATIONS ADDICT” category!

And if you’re still wondering which category you belong to, have a look at the 6 warning signs you’re addicted to home renovations:

Warning sign #1 – If you’re a home renovations addict, it will reflect in your year planner!

Let’s start by looking at your use of time.

Home renovations can legitimately be quite time-consuming, especially if you are going the DIY route rather than making use of a professional contractor.

However, if your time given to your home renovations spills over from being every weekend for two months… to every weekend for six months… to every available waking moment, literally for the majority of a year, or longer, I reckon you might have a problem.

Most addictions start with a risk-reward scenario:

You invested in a certain hobby or experience, and you enjoyed the payoff.

So you went for it again, and again, and again…

You get the picture.

The law of diminishing returns says you have to invest more and more to find the same sense of satisfaction…

And BOOM – you’re hooked!

For the home renovations addict, it’s not the craps table that’s the issue, or Johnnie Walker, or Xbox that’s the addiction… his or her vice is tile grout, trowels, paint brushes, ceiling skirting, and all things with which to accessorise the home.

If the number of layers of paint you’ve applied on your walls is greater than your shoe size… that’s a warning sign!

Warning sign #2 – If you’re a home renovations addict, it will reflect in your bank account!

Show me what someone spends their money on and I will be able to tell you a lot about what the person values.

Hey, it’s your hard-earned cash and it’s up to you what you spend it on – and increasing your home’s value might be your focus – however, if your expenditure on building supplies, décor and furniture is consistently greater than other expenses like groceries, insurance, entertainment, the kids’ education, and clothing, it could point to some kind of obsession with the house.

Let me ask you the following simple questions:

Do you frequently walk out of the hardware store with a till slip that’s longer than your arm?

Do you have your contractor on speed-dial?

Has a quick tile job for your contractor spiralled into a six-figure overhaul of the entire house?

The point at which a harmless hobby becomes a destructive addiction is when it starts to obscure and steamroll over other areas of your life.

This begins to mess with your overall quality of life.

If there has been a negative impact on your finances or even your work or career goals, you might need to seriously consider calling it a day with regards to those ongoing home renovations.

If your bank statement looks like you should have shares in your local DIY hardware store… that’s a major warning sign!

Following the continual outbursts of home renovations and improvements, nevermind the financial knock you’ll get the day you decide to sell the property, given its clearly overcapitalized condition.

Warning sign #3 – If you’re a home renovations addict, it will reflect in your relationships!

Do your friends avoid you because you’re constantly asking them to help with DIY favors?

Is your nickname “Mr. Fixit” or “The Toolman”, like Tim Taylor on an old season of Home Improvement(I’ve just given my age away)

Have your kids forgotten what you look like because you’d rather be laying some tile grout than throwing a cricket ball to them?

Has your spouse had to join a support group for “DIY widows”?

Think I’m joking about that last one?

Check out this WikiHow article which offers encouragement to people living with home renovation-obsessed spouses.

Are you on a first-name basis with the guys working the paint counter at the hardware store?

Do you feel closer to the employees at your local DIY store than your own family and friends?

Okay, this last one might be a big push, but you’re getting the point.

It might be worth taking stock if any of these ring true for you.

Ongoing home renovations can also sour relationships with your neighbours.

Gutted sections of your property which are visible from the road or facing neighbours’ houses can become an eyesore.

We all want to avoid messy or noisy neighbours!

But hang on!

Are you that nightmare neighbour the neighbourhood is talking about?

Before you realize it, your obsession might have just turned you into that noisy or messy neighbour!

If your neighbouring properties are vacant due to excessive dust and noisy power tools from your ongoing home renovations… that’s a warning sign!

Warning sign #4 – If you’re a home renovations addict, you can’t see yourself ever stopping!

Will These Home Renovations EVER stop?

A fresh coat of paint?


Next, the laminate wood floor you’ve always wanted…


Hmmm, not so sure the paint matches the new flooring… perhaps another layer of paint?


Ah, my year-end bonus was paid, let’s get that outside patio fixed up…


But again, the wall colours…

I’d better bring a few testers home to compare colours…

And on it goes.

Every homeowner has their to-do list for the property, and there are always ongoing little fixes and maintenance jobs which are actually legitimate.

But if you’re stuck in the pattern of home renovations addiction, it’s bigger jobs and cosmetic overhauls that are your joy, not just essential and functional touches.

Throwing yourself into these home renovation jobs might be how you unwind, and disconnect from stress.

Or, your “home renovation high” might be standing back and admiring the finished product, or showing it off to your friends.

But the true addict never actually has a properly finished product.

His or her eyes are already wandering to the next job.

If the to-do list for your house has more lines in it than the Tax Law… that’s another big warning sign!

Warning sign #5 – If you’re a home renovations addict, you can expect a wake-up call!

One brave soul admitted he had a problem when he spotted his one-year-old son, sitting in a pile of sawdust, trying to swallow some self-tapping screws.

For you, it might be when you and your spouse butt heads over the time and budget issues wrapped up in the ongoing home renovations.

Or, it may be when you realise you’ve missed your child’s birthday party because you just couldn’t get down off that ladder.


Warning sign #6 – If you’re a home renovations addict, your latest home renovation hasn’t really filled the void!

Somehow I Thought These Home Renovations Would Make Me Happy?!

The big problem with this addiction is that it’s an impossible itch to scratch.

The monkey on your back is only chased away temporarily by that latest woodworking project.

And he’ll be back.

It’s not even about keeping up with the Joneses anymore.

It’s about chasing the dream of perfection.

It’s about the satisfaction that home improvement gives you in a quantifiable sense.

But every time you kick for the goals, the posts move a little further away.

If your hard drive is full of old episodes of Drew & Jonathan, Grand Designs, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition… that’s a warning sign!

Closing Thoughts

How does one deal with a home renovations addict?

The first step in recovery for any addiction is realising you have a problem.

It’s worth checking yourself before you wreck yourself.

If you feel like James Bond when you’re holding your electric drill… that’s yet another warning sign!

Having checked the list, you might have breathed a sigh of relief – you’re definitely not an addict.


Or, you might be sweating a little, thinking, this is all hitting a little too close to home.

Well, to reiterate, the first step to recovery is realising that you may have a problem, or you may be somewhere close to the edge.

So that realisation is a good thing!

It’s a positive step.

How do you recover from this home renovations addiction? 

Here are a few ideas to point you in the right direction:

  • Weigh up what you really value – relationships, time with your family, providing for them, whatever is meaningful to you.

Remind yourself at every stage that the addiction is pulling you away from these values. 

This will help you to focus on why you are trying to change.

  • Make it your goal to finish your current project.

Deal with the issue of perfectionism – aim for something that’s livable even if it’s not perfect.

If you are married, agree with your spouse on what time and money can be given to finishing the current project, and stick to that.

  • Then, the tough part – hang up your tools for a while.

And take it one day at a time. 

Read up on addiction recovery.

The great thing about our brains is that they are “plastic”they can generally be “rebooted” out of destructive behaviour after more or less 90 days of the correct behavior.

Start to enjoy what you do have rather than look at what you don’t have.

Do it for yourself and for what you value.

Before it’s too late. 

And before you have a personal housing scandal rivalling South Africa’s Nkandla!

Other Home Renovations Related Articles:

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About the author: The above article “6 Warning Signs You’re Addicted To Home Renovations was written by Xavier De Buck, your top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.

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