Helpful Home Tips &
Mortgage Advice from Experts


Back to Posts
lady pointing inside drawing of a house

Home Improvement Projects: When to DIY and When to Call a Pro

Share on Facebook9Share on LinkedIn2Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Email this to someone

If you’re thinking of doing a home improvement project, you might be wondering whether or not you should do the project yourself or hire a professional. Super simple improvements like changing out knobs or decor are obvious DIY projects, while more extensive repairs are probably obvious hire-a-pro projects. However, there are lots of in-between projects where you aren’t really sure which direction to take. Here are some ways to tell if you should do a home improvement project yourself or hire a professional:

Know Yourself and Be Honest with Yourself

It is important to know your own skills and limitations. Be honest with yourself. A DIY project may seem appealing due to the low costs, but you have to truly know what you are doing before you tackle something to avoid making costly mistakes (that might end up requiring a professional’s services anyway). Review what is needed for your home improvement project and then do an honest assessment of your skills to complete these tasks. You should also consider the cost of potential errors you may make, as fixing something you broke might cost a lot more than it would have if you would have hired a professional from the start.

City Laws and Codes

Your city’s building codes are extremely important, so check with your city hall to get information on what you might need if you’re considering tackling a big project, such as building a deck or patio, roofing your own home, or making major home repairs. The majority of  home improvement projects will require permits and you must follow all the building codes. If permits are required, be sure to apply for them early on in case there is a long processing time. This step alone will require time and money, as permits usually have fees that are associated with them.

Professionals such as electricians, construction firms, and plumbers have all received specific training in their specialized areas. They will also have experience with building codes and obtaining permits. This is one perk to hiring a professional if you’re not exactly sure about the ins and outs of a major DIY home project.

Consider the Time Commitment 

Ask yourself whether or not you honestly have the time required to correctly finish any home improvements you start. Many homeowners go the DIY route do so for the financial savings, but they don’t stop to consider the time commitment that a project will truly require. 

Most homeowners have jobs, so most of the evenings and weekends will be spent on the project. A professional is guaranteed to complete the project quicker than if you DIY because your project is their job. For the essential parts of your home,  such as the kitchen or bathroom, getting the job done in a timely manner will be critical to keeping your day to day routine intact. 

Consider the Dangers

Never, ever put yourself in harm’s way to save a few dollars.  There are certain improvements that should never be DIY. These projects require specifically trained professionals with certain licenses and skills, and if failed, can cause severe damage to your health or your home.

Electrical installation errors could result in electrocution or electrical fires. Major plumbing repairs, such as repairs to the main drains under your home, could result in structural damage or injury if not properly executed. These mistakes could also cause severe water damage to a section of your home or flooding of the whole entire house. In addition, HVAC maintenance and repairs can be a combination of electricity, plumbing, and natural gas. These technicians are extensively trained and doing the repairs yourself, could result in severe injury or explosion.

Come Up with a Plan

DIY projects are just fine if you truly have the skills and tools necessary to get the job done right. If you choose not to hire a professional, come up with a plan so that you can outline the entire project. Come up with a budget, price your supplies, estimate the amount of time it will take, consider challenges that may be presented, and come up with a timeline for completion. 

Take the time and analyze all aspects of the home improvement you want. Remember that if you choose a professional because you either aren’t sure how to complete a project or because you want to protect you and your family from costly mistakes, you can get quotes from multiple parties so that you can get the best price for your investment.