Homes Reimagined

Is that project a DIY-er or do you need to hire a professional?

I am sure we have all seen something on Pinterest and said to yourself, “I could TOTALLY do that myself”. It all looks so easy. However, many projects should come with the “do not try this at home” warning label. However, when is it safe to continue? When is it time to hire a professional? That question can be answered in a few ways. One place to start is the size and scope of the project. If your project includes complicated jobs, such as plumbing, electrical work, and tile setting, unless you have a skillset in these areas, these should be left to skilled professionals. On the other hand, there are some jobs, such as painting and front yard updates, that you can almost certainly handle yourself – even with zero to little experience at all.

We would like to break down these down even further using just a few questions. Is it safe for me to do myself? Will the project be too difficult for me to accomplish on my own? Do I have the time to do the job right? The answers to these questions are what experts say are most important to consider when deciding whether to DIY.

Our main reservation about hiring is professional usually boils down to two concerns…will I hire the right person? How can I keep costs down? Below, please find some tips when hiring and paying for a contractor for your project.

  • Make sure your project offers the most value to your home. Regular repairs are a necessary part of home ownership, however taking on a large remodeling jobs is optional. Get the most out of your expense by adding the most value to your home.
  • When it comes to hiring a contractor, be very selective. When starting the search, begin by looking for referrals from your friends and neighbors. Once you have a short list, do your homework. Call and request proposals and referrals from your prospects directly. This professional will have your home in their hands, choose wisely. Some quick dismisses should be contractors that do not arrive on time for their appointment. Contractors who seem disorganized or unsure of the work that’s involved. Any company or contractor that refuses to provide references or a contractor’s license. Be cautious if a contractor provides very low or high estimates for the job. Lastly, does he have his license, website and business information on his vehicle? If they are good and conscientious at what they do, their vehicle should be slathered with marketing and contact information.  Also, they should check with their State Contractor Licensing Board to check and see if the contractor has any complaints or claims against their bond.
  • As with everything, communication is key. According to Consumer Reports, the majority of issues with contractors starts with miss communication. The moment you see a potential issue or concern, let your contractor know as soon as possible. Ignored issues can become very expensive problems to fix later.
  • Get dirty and do your own demo and cleanup. You may not have the expertise to do the entire job, but you can certainly make a mess and clean up the mess and save yourself some money. Don’t be afraid to get in there (relieve some stress) and knock out those cabinets, it will save you money on the backend.

When it comes to DIY projects, our concern is doing the job right and staying safe while doing it. Below, please find some tips when you decide to take on your own design project.

Brush up on your skillset. Watch some videos or take a lesson at your local hardware store. Resources are now available to everyone with a smart phone by simply logging into YouTube. Start small and work your way into bigger projects as your skills progress.

Work on projects that matter most. If that dripping sink has been driving you crazy, start there, even if painting the cabinets seems like more fun. That less fun project will always be there, so do the important ones first and save the fun ones for last.

Comparison shop! There are so many options when buying things like cabinets, fixtures, windows and doors. Spend some time to do some research and save money whenever you can.

Rent or borrow your tools. Not every job requires the purchase of new equipment. Talk to your friends, family or neighbors and borrow what you can. Always be sure to return those tools in the condition you borrowed them.

Knowledge is power. Do your research. Know your skillset. Everything beyond that is easy. Educating yourself will help you feel confident about your DIY project and give you a comfort level with your contractor to make the rest of the project go much smoother.