The frequent government shutdowns and stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic have seen more Americans spending more time at home. With nearly 86% of the population working remotely, more than 63% of homeowners say they noticed more areas that could use a little work. Consequently, this has led to increased spending on home improvements.
A nationwide survey done by HomeAdvisor on ‘State of Home Spending Report’ shows money allocated for home-related services jumped to an average of $13138 in 2020, up from $9081 the previous year. With shifting consumer budgets, most homeowners directed more funds to fund their home improvement projects.
With more free time to watch inspiring home improvement shows and instructional videos, homeowners turned on their DIY cues to make repairs and refurbish their properties. The ‘how-to’ articles and videos make everything seem easy, cheap, and doable-from changing light fittings around the home to kitchen and bathroom remodels.
Labor remains the single largest cost driver for property owners intending to carry out home improvement projects. The National Association of Realtors points out that labor is the most expensive among nine of the top ten common renovation projects. With this in mind, most homeowners decide not to hire a pro to offset the cost of completing their favorite upgrades.
However, just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should do it. 55% of DIY projects end up as ‘Pinterest fails,’ costly disasters that set back homeowners thousands of dollars annually. If you have a project that’s neither easy nor cheap, it would be best to hire a pro. Complex tasks such as roof repair services and wiring may require skilled experts.
Deciding When to Do It Yourself and When to Hire a Pro
There’s arguably no limit to the number of home improvement projects that you can carry out alone. However, it is vital to remain a shrewd homeowner. Identify renovations that you can do, and leave the rest to the experts. Here are seven factors to keep in mind.
The first step before carrying out any home improvement project should be to identify the potential dangers involved. What is the risk of carrying out the renovations yourself? What’s the worst that could happen if you messed up? For some projects, such as electrical services, ‘death’ is the answer. If you find yourself thinking that you might get hurt during the renovation project, then take a seat on the bench and hire a pro. While saving a few hundred dollars can be fantastic, it is not worth it if you suffer injuries that cost you thousands in medical bills, or worse, kill you.
You make the most value out of a DIY renovation project if you can complete it faster and cheaper than hiring an expert. The more complex a repair job is, the more time you may spend on it. It is always good to reflect on if you have the time and patience to see the project through. Most DIY instructional material will provide a rough estimate of the time taken to complete. Look at the project’s scope and your skill level to determine the exact time it may take you to complete the work.
It is essential to take time and look at the full scale of the job at hand. Do you envision it affecting the structural integrity of your home? While it may seem like a simple weekend basement makeover, the project may end up being a nightmare that causes you headaches for months. For projects that can affect your structure’s stability, it would be best to hire a pro.
Ultimately, your home improvement project’s completion boils down to the amount you are willing to spend. You can take advantage of the shifting consumer budgets such as vacation travel savings and channel them to more purposeful projects. The allure of DIY repairs comes from the savings made that would otherwise go to a hired professional. Calculate the total expenditure that comes with handling the project alone and when you hire a pro. Do not forget to factor in the value of your time as an hourly wage.
Different cities and municipalities have varying building codes that all property owners and contractors need to abide by. You may need to determine if your project will require permits from the local building department. In some states, only licensed professionals can carry out specific repair works. Some jurisdictions may demand permits and inspections before the completion of the projects. Make sure you understand your local building codes before embarking on your projects.
Home Resale Value
It’s no secret that home renovation projects are excellent ways to boost your property value ahead of a resale. However, before embarking on your ambitious repair and refurbishment works, consult a remodeling expert. Rushing through a quick DIY installation may negatively affect your home’s value. Even expensive granite countertop installations can be a huge turn off for buyers if poorly laid. If you have any doubts about your skills, you should probably hire a pro.
Skills and Expertise
You may need to have an honest reflection of your ability to complete the home improvement project. Most times, you may fear starting on projects simply because you lack the necessary skillset. Some tasks, such as fixing a leaky faucet, are easy to learn. You can use them as stepping stones to build your confidence to handle more complex renovations. If the project demands more from you, it would be best to leave it to a pro. Getting stuck in an unfinished project can be stressful and frustrating, not worth the potential saving you hoped to make.
8 Instances in Which You Should Hire a Pro
Few moments are as satisfying as completing a renovation project all on your own. However, there are tasks that you should never imagine trying to fix yourself. Whether too technical or unsafe, here are ten common home improvement projects that you should leave to the professionals.
Replacing your asphalt shingles may seem like an easy job to do, but do not let your sight deceive you. A lot of mistakes can happen. A slight mistake can cause water leaks that damage your ceilings, walls, and floorboards. You may need to leave any roof repairs to roofing contractors with the right expertise to handle the job. An experienced roofer can help prevent problems such as water damage, mold, and loss of insulation that can cost you thousands of dollars down the road.
Carpet, tiles, and wood flooring require strict adherence to laid out steps when carrying out the installation. Failure to which you may have to tear up the floor and start afresh. Home experts advise hiring a pro to carry out the installation. You may find the previous flooring warped, or worse, rotten. You do not wish to end up with a hardwood flooring that squeaks with every step you take.
3. Major Remodeling
The new craze for ‘open floor plans’ continues to see an increased number of homeowners tearing down walls and rebuilding their living spaces. Wall removals and home additions are not as easy as they seem. Bringing down a wall that was load-bearing may affect the structural stability of your home. Worse, you could end up damaging plumbing and electrical pipes that would now require rerouting. Furthermore, you may need to perform countertops installation after tearing off the old ones. In such cases, you are better off leaving it to the professionals.
Home electrical systems are complex, often requiring expertise from licensed electricians. Contrary to common belief, the low voltage present in residential homes is equally as dangerous. The fact is that electric current is measured in amps, not volts. Within the right conditions, even low voltage from a 12-V battery can be hazardous. Tinkering with your wiring can result in power outages, sparking in outlets, fried electronics, or worse, electrocutions. You can keep your family safe when you hire a pro.
5. Complex Plumbing Repairs
Plumbing problems such as unblocking a clogged drain and fixing a leaking faucet are simple tasks that you can learn. However, complex plumbing issues such as sewer line blockages, water heater installations, and low water pressure require an expert plumber‘s skills. The home plumbing systems involve a delicate network of interconnected pipes that can flood your home if installed incorrectly. Water leaks can also support mold growth, which leads to respiratory illnesses and allergies.
6. Foundation Works
The structural soundness of your home relies on the foundation that you lay. If your home improvement project involves your home foundation, hire a pro. Cracks and crumbling foundations are a recipe for disasters that can strike when least expected. What may seem easy to patch up may only be the tip of the iceberg, which would require the expertise of an architect, contractor, or structural engineer.
7. Tree Removal
If you have a few trees in your yard that require trimming or cutting down, think twice before deciding to handle it yourself. Gauging the tree’s average height, the feeling, distance, and angle can be quite problematic for the average Joe. Mistakes can lead to the tree falling over your home, leading to thousands incurred in property damage. Hire a pro tree cutting service to trim or fell your trees.
8. Gas Line Installations
Most home appliances and devices currently use gas as the primary source of power. These include water heaters, ovens, cloth driers, furnaces, and grills. One of the most dangerous DIY repairs you should never attempt is gas line installations or repairs. Gas leaks resulting from loose connections are rare, but they lead to devastating results when they occur. Only a licensed and certified plumber should tinker with your gas line.
5 Tips for Carrying Out DIY Projects Successfully
Fret not. This post never intends to burst your bubble. Just because you should not handles the eight home improvement projects above does not mean there aren’t plenty of other tasks that you can take on. As you muster up a little courage to jump onto your next project, here are five tips to help you achieve your goals.
Focus on Function First
You may need to prioritize your home improvement jobs by focusing on each space’s functionality within your home. Walk through every room with an open mind, as if you are going through your daily routine. What little additions and changes would you love to have to make your life easier and more convenient? Jot down the to-do list, fleshing out needs from the wants.
Assemble the Right Tools
The next step is to consider the equipment that you require. What tools and materials do you need for your project? For cost savings, you can borrow from your handy friend or neighbor. Local hardware stores and community tool libraries also have renting options for most equipment.
Start with Lowest-Cost High-impact Projects
You may need to prioritize high return projects that will provide the most value for your property. You may need to dig a little deeper, conducting a mini-evaluation of each project and its returns. What’s your current skill level? What can a single can of paint achieve? How much wood do you require for the decking? If you plan on reselling your house, focus on projects that will provide the highest return on investment.
Work Through Phases
You may need to determine early on how much time you are willing to dedicate to the project. Are you considering sacrificing every weekend for the next two months to complete the work? Split the work into phases that enable you to remain accountable for the progress of the project.
Set Your Budget
It is relatively easy for renovation projects to overshoot the budget estimates, leaving enthusiastic DIYers frustrated and stressed. Create a budget limit for your project and try to stick to it. It is also advisable to accommodate a 10%-30% cushion for any surprises that may spring up during your project.
The debate on whether to carry out the home improvement projects alone or hire a pro goes beyond the money factor. You may need to consider time, safety, and building codes. However, professionals should strictly handle certain projects. Remember, nothing can beat the joy of showing off your completed works that you carried out on your own.