Routine repairs and maintenance may cost you anywhere from hundreds to thousands each year. Major remodeling jobs (baths, basements, or kitchens) can cost a whole lot more.
The good news is that you might be able to handle some do-it-yourself (DIY) remodeling and repair jobs, such as painting, replacing cabinet hardware, and fixing a squeaky door hinge. (If you’re not sure what to do, watch a YouTube video or check out the DIY Network.)
However, just because you can DIY doesn’t mean you should. Complicated jobs, such as roofing, plumbing, electrical work, and tile setting, should be left to skilled professionals. The tricky part is figuring out which jobs are DIY and which actually call for expert support.
Ask these six questions to help determine which Colorado home improvements and repairs you should DIY and which you should leave to the experts:
How much time will the project require? Will it take you hours or days longer to complete a repair job, or could it take weeks or months longer? Review time estimates for some DIY jobs based on your skill level (novice, intermediate, and expert).
Does the work require a permit? You may need to prove the construction job was done safely, which means you should think carefully before tackling the job yourself.
How much will the job cost? Figure out how much it would cost to have the job done professionally. Get estimates from HomeAdvisor and from local contractors, then figure out how much it would cost to DIY, including costs for materials, tools, and permits.
Will you inadvertently lower your home’s value? Future homebuyers won’t appreciate shoddy workmanship.
How much will any mistakes cost you? If you’re not sure what you’re doing, you risk having to hire a contractor to fix your mistakes or redo the job entirely. Instead of saving money, you could end up wasting lots of time and paying twice for the same job.
Could you actually destroy your home? Before you knock down a wall or take on a major plumbing job, make sure you won’t have to re-stabilize the foundation or repair major water damage afterward. Serious problems can be very hard to course correct.
Here are some ways you can keep costs down and maximize your DIY investment:
Build Your Skills. Even if you’re completely new to DIY, you can tackle small jobs like fixing a leaking faucet or putting up a shelf. After building your skills and confidence, you can work your way up to bigger jobs.
Save on Materials. You can save on materials for home building, renovation, and repair projects by shopping at reuse centers like Habitat for Humanity ReStore. These stores sell unwanted, salvaged, and secondhand materials at bargain prices.
Save on Tools. If a DIY job requires expensive tools you don’t have, borrow them from a friend, check out Craigslist and eBay, or rent them from a store like Lowe’s.
Here are some ways you can to maximize your investment if you hire a professional:
Pick Your Projects Wisely. According to the Journal of Light Construction (JLC), a garage door replacement returns nearly its entire cost when you sell, while adding a grand entrance returns only about half its cost. Choose projects that have a high return on investment or that you and your family will truly appreciate. Intention is key.
Choose the Right Contractor. Do your homework. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, get multiple quotes, check references and testimonials, and ask about licenses, insurance, and warranties. Make sure your contractor has the expertise, experience, and tools needed to complete the work to your complete satisfaction.
Demand Transparency. Homeowners get upset when contractors don’t listen and don’t honor budgets and schedules. To avoid these kinds of problems, align on a firm contract price along with a contingency budget. Also align on schedules and working conditions up front. It’s your home – your expectations, ideas, and feedback matter!
The choice between DIY and hiring a contractor is a balancing act between money on the one hand and less hassle, faster results, safety, and professional-quality work on the other.
Working with professionals is often a smart investment. However, if you have assessed the risks and are willing (or even eager) to devote time and effort to a home improvement project, then you should do it – even when the cost savings are minimal.
So which Colorado home improvements and repair jobs should you DIY, and which should you leave to the experts? If you’re not sure, reach out!