Guide for Professional and DIY Home Improvement Projects

(April 19, 2017)

Being a homeowner comes with an onslaught of costs such as HOA fees, home insurance, utilities and repairs. Even with all of these expenses, it can be difficult to fight the urge to want to remodel certain areas of your home in order to make it your dream living space. Many people consider going the do-it-yourself route to save money, however certain projects are worth spending money to hire a professional. Here are a few things to consider before starting any major home improvements. Assess your situation With home renovation shows on networks like HGTV growing popular at an alarming rate, it’s easy to mistake your viewership as an actual skillset. Unfortunately what you see in those quick 30 minute television shows pale in comparison to real life DIY home repairs. That is why it’s important that you really understand what you are getting yourself into. Although doing a project yourself can save you money, you will ultimately be paying in time. If you only have the weekends to dedicate to projects like replacing your kitchen cabinets or upgrading your countertops, you will have to be ok with the fact that your kitchen will be an unaccessible mess for at least a few months. Short term projects like painting or installing a fence around the backyard pool can be done over the span of a long weekend, which may be ideal for a DIY project. You may find that the time commitments for certain projects are not ideal for you, so at that point you may want to consider hiring a professional.  When assessing the changes you want to make around your home, you will need to consider the risk factors the job may present and if you have the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to do it right. The first question you need to ask yourself before taking on a DIY job is what would happen if you were to mess it up? A simple task like painting won’t require much clean up if you were to make a mistake, however improperly installing a kitchen sink can lead to an expensive and extensive repair process. Paint can be covered up, but a leaky sink can cause damage to the floors and walls around it and overtime can lead to mold or even cause the floor to sink! A mistake of this stature will be costly to fix and you may have a hard time finding a contractor that is willing to work on a botched job.  Be honest with yourself about your skillset and if you are not confident in your ability to fix something in your home, it’s best to hire someone with experience. You will find that it’s much easier to begin with a professional than to try finding someone to fix a mess.   Finding the right professional for the job When it comes to your home, it’s understandable to want the best, which is why hiring the right contractor is extremely important. Before you reach out to anyone, get very specific in what you want done and what materials you would like to be used for the job. Use your social network of neighbors and friends that have had similar projects done as credible sources that can point you in the right direction. For good measure, interview at least 3 contractors and get a written bid or quote from each one. Be sure that each bid includes the same materials and same tasks so that you can do an accurate assessment before determining who is right for the job. Do not hesitate to negotiate before signing any contracts. Once you have your contractor, be sure to keep the lines of communication open and clear. Let them know what you expect of them early on, and if you see any potential issues, bring it to their attention immediately. Turning your home into your ideal living space is an exciting time! While being able to boast of doing projects yourself may feel rewarding, it is important to step back and make sure that you are enlisting the help from professionals when necessary. Wherever you decide to start, nothing is more exhilarating than being able to see the vision of your home come to life!