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Home improvements: DIY or hire a pro?

Ginger Dean

February 5, 2014

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: General RemodelingFinance and Legal

What can you do if your home needs some improvement but you aren't too handy with a hammer? Well, you have two choices: you can try to save money by learning to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or you can spend a lump sum of money and hire a professional to fix-up your home. Choosing the best option for you depends on a few variables.

Before you get started ask yourself these questions: how much time do you have, how willing are you to commit to the project long term, and how much money do you have to spend?

Do you have the time?

As a general rule of thumb, if you can finish the project over a weekend or two then you can try to DIY. Routine maintenance around your home and backyard that come with the change of a season such as heavy duty cleaning etc. can be done in a few hours, and although it would be a lot easier to hire a professional, you can probably do it yourself. If you need to power wash your siding, clean your deck, or even paint your fence you can probably bite the bullet and take on the project yourself. But if your home improvements take anything more than a two week commitment - such as repairing a cracked foundation, replacing your kitchen floor, or upgrading your lighting - it may be worth it to hire a professional and enjoy your weekends.

Do you often start a project but not finish it?

If you are one of those people who give 110% at the beginning of a project but lose interest soon after, DIY home improvements are probably not for you. Although the initial intention may be good and the idea of saving money is very appealing, your DIY project could end up costing more money in the end if you don't finish the project and have to hire a professional to complete the work. Being ambitious is a great quality, but not if it means that you are going to be living in an ongoing construction zone until you decide to finish your DIY project. Sometimes it's worth it to hire a professional to get the job done right…the first time.

Is it worth the savings to DIY?

In many cases, DIY-anything is cheaper than hiring a professional. But if you don't know (or aren't willing to learn) how to install new kitchen cabinets or a new chandelier then you should call a professional.

Know thyself. Before deciding to DIY or hire a professional, calculate the cost benefit analysis and then decide realistically what you're most comfortable doing.

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