Home Improvement Projects: DIY or Hire a Professional?

Whether you’re embarking on a home improvement project to increase your home’s value or simply to make your home more comfortable to live in, one of the first choices to make is whether to do it yourself or hire a professional. 

To make this decision, you’ll need to balance a number of different factors specific to each project. Here’s a quick guide to help you make the decision that’s best for you and your home.

The DIY Route

DIY home improvements offer clear advantages to homeowners, starting with the cost: When you tackle a project on your own, you may be able to save a lot of money compared to when you hire a professional.

But there are still costs to consider with DIY home improvement projects. You’ll need the right tools to complete the job, and for certain specialty projects, the cost of buying or renting that equipment can quickly match the cost of hiring a professional. There’s also the cost of your time: DIY projects can be time-consuming, and homeowners will need to fit in this new project alongside other responsibilities.

Plus, your DIY project might not end in the same level of result that professionals can offer. This might matter less if you’re doing a simple project, such as installing a hanging rack in your laundry room, but it could make a big difference when you’re adding a backsplash to your kitchen or updating your flooring.

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What to Consider Before Starting a DIY Project

  • Do you have the tools you need to complete this project? If not, can you afford to buy them? Is it more practical to rent them from a home improvement store?
  • Do you have adequate time to manage this project on your own?
  • Do you have the skills to DIY? 
  • Does the project require permits and inspections?
  • Would you enjoy doing this job on your own?
  • Are you okay with less-than-professional results?

Hiring a Professional

Hiring professionals to handle home improvement projects comes with a higher price tag, but there are a number of benefits to consider.

For one thing, a professional does all the work for you. If you’re too busy to handle home improvement projects on your own, this can be a great, low-stress option. Professionals also offer quality work that might surpass what you’re able to achieve as a DIYer.

If your project requires permitting or meeting certain building regulations, a professional can handle this legal red tape for you and make sure the project is completed to those standards, thus avoiding expensive rework. And if the project involves certain hazardous elements, such as dangerous equipment or complex electrical work, hiring a professional is the safest route.

Of course, you also need to know the estimated cost before you agree to this option. If you gather quotes from multiple contractors and they all exceed your budget, you might need to opt for the DIY approach or save a little more before you start this project.

What to Consider Before Hiring a Professional

  • Can you afford the quoted cost of the project?
  • Are there hazards associated with this project that would be best handled by a professional?
  • What is the professional’s availability? Are they able to complete the project on your preferred timeline?
  • Have you found a professional with good reviews for similar projects? How recent are the reviews? 
  • Have you seen before-and-after photos of similar projects by that professional? 

If you love DIY projects, home improvement can be a fun hobby that saves you money and builds sweat equity in your home. But there’s no shame in hiring a professional to save yourself the trouble and ensure a great finished product. 

Consider your comfort level, existing responsibilities, existing skills, and overall budget when choosing between the DIY approach and hiring a professional to handle your next home project.

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Download The Smart Homeowner’s Guide to Refinancing

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