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When to DIY vs. When to Hire a Pro

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Are you contemplating a home remodel, design project, or repair? Deciding whether or not to handle the task yourself or hire a professional requires careful consideration. Ask yourself the following questions before delving into any home improvement project.

Do you know what you need?

Depending on the project, you will need certain tools and supplies to make it a success. It's important to have sufficient knowledge of what the project entails to execute it properly. How much lumber do you need? Do you need a power saw? Does this project require any permits? Will it involve any electrical work? Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your project before attempting to DIY--do plenty of research or talk to an associate at your local hardware store to find out more about the task and what you will need. If you feel overwhelmed or unsure of where to begin, you may want to hire a professional.

Do you have experience with similar projects?

Have you ever successfully completed a home improvement project? If you are a first-timer, you should avoid more involved tasks--such as remodeling a bathroom. However, you may be able to handle something much simpler, such as installing a new light fixture. Honestly assess your skill level and experience with DIY projects when determining if you should hire a professional for the job. Make sure you are confident in your abilities before attempting a project on your own.

Do you have the proper tools?

Don't attempt a job without the right tools. If you need a circular saw or power drill for your project, make sure you have it in your arsenal before tackling the job. If your project will require you to purchase a whole new set of costly power tools, it may be less economical and more inconvenient to DIY.

Do you have the time?

If you have a jam-packed schedule--work, kids, errands--you may not have the time to handle a remodeling project yourself. Some DIY projects can be extremely involved and time-consuming, and require focus and dedication. Consider if the task is manageable with your routine before taking it on--beginning a complicated home remodel project and realizing midway you are too busy to finish can be incredibly disruptive to your daily life.

Do you have the strength and energy?

Repairs, remodels, and home improvement projects all require some strength and good physical condition. If you are aging, out of shape, or have any injuries or ailments, you may want to reconsider a DIY project. Do you have any friends or family members that can help you? Is the project relatively simple and within your physical ability? Taking on a strenuous project if you suffer from a heart condition or even chronic back pain leaves you susceptible to injury or complications.

Are you prepared to deal with obtaining the necessary permits/licenses?

Some projects, such as an addition to your home or altering wiring, will require licenses or permits from your city or township. Adhering to codes and zoning regulations can be a tedious and complicated process, involving quite a bit of red tape and paperwork. A licensed contractor will be able to significantly help you with this process.

Do you hate having strangers in your home?

If the thought of a contractor and his crew traipsing throughout your home, dragging dirt inside, and tearing things apart makes you shudder, you should contemplate tackling the project on your own. While a small repair or project may not take much time, longer, more complicated remodels can take weeks or even months--that's a long time to get used to living with strangers working in your home. Consider how this scenario will effect your daily routine and stress levels before making the decision to hire professionals.

Are you on a tight budget?

Hiring a contractor can be costly. If the job is manageable, it may not be worthwhile to pay for help if you are short on cash. For larger projects you are unsure you can handle yourself, paying professionals is the wiser choice. Before making a decision, carefully calculate your budget and consider the extent of your project and your capabilities. If you have a knack for plumbing, hiring a plumber to fix your sink may be a waste of money. However, if you have never picked up a tool in your life and wish to install a brand new floor, it might be time to start saving for a flooring professional.

Are you a control freak?

Some people merely cannot stand the thought of relinquishing control to others--particularly when it comes to their homes. If you want to be in charge of every aspect of your home remodel, hiring help may significantly agitate you. Consider your ability to stand aside and allow others to alter your home (albeit others with professional training and skill) before determining if you will DIY or hire a pro.


Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on March 1, 2013

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