Spring is often the catalyst of projects for homeowners. Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” and recent DIY books and online videos make it appear that nearly anyone is capable of any project. However, tackling a job yourself is not always a reasonable or safe choice, and there are several aspects to consider when deciding whether to hire a contractor.
The Haves and Have Nots
Materials needed for home repairs are available in most markets and are generally not the limitation they once were. Instead, it’s important to consider the following:
- Do you have the tools you’ll need to complete the job properly? Tasks such as painting touch-ups or minor landscaping may require common tools you have on hand. On the other hand, more involved jobs may call for expensive tools that you may never use again.
- If a mistake is made, have you the means and willingness to fix it? Quality contractors will often warranty their work so that if you experience difficulties, they’ll return to make things right.
- Do you want the liability if the job is done incorrectly, or will it affect your home’s sell-ability? At some point, your home will likely be inspected. Repairs that are not done to code may need to be removed or re-done to sell.
- Do you have the time? Many contractors offer free estimates, including the time needed to complete the job. One simple comparison is calculating how long it would take to do it yourself, multiplying that by your hourly wage, and comparing that total to the contractor’s bid.
Prudence Is More Than a Pretty Name
A good deal of home renovation and remodeling tasks are best completed by a professional, and if you’re not sure, it’s wise to err on the side of caution:
- Tasks that may need a building permit, such as major remodeling projects
- Projects that run the risk of killing you or destroying your home
- Any major electrical upgrades
- HVAC system servicing and updates
- Tree removal
- Work with chemicals such as pest control materials and sewer or septic systems