Hiring a Pro or Do it Yourself Home Improvement?

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do it yourself home improvementWe know that HIR’s many fans and readers love the enterprising DIY spirit. Easy do it yourself projects bring lots of satisfaction and save money. Sometimes, though, it isn’t always clear if a particular project qualifies for the DIY treatment or whether it needs a pro. We hope these tips help you decide the best route to take for a job: home DIY projects or jobs for the pros.

Hiring a Pro or Do it Yourself Home Improvement?

Do you own multiple properties?

The more properties you own, whether for your own use or as income properties, the more tempting DIY solutions might be, since the more potential savings they can provide. But, consider the lost opportunity costs? How much of your time and effort is this going to take? If you’re a brain surgeon, it doesn’t matter how good a carpenter you are, building your own deck is not economical. If you want to do it for personal satisfaction, that’s fine. But don’t fool yourself that you’re saving money, if in fact you could be doing something more lucrative, while a pro works on your house. The more properties you have, the more true this fact is. In that case, a property maintenance firm is probably your best choice.

How Much Time do you Have?

This follows directly from the consideration above. Performing maintenance on a single house can become practically a full-time job. This is especially so in heritage homes. Be sure what you’re getting out of the DIY choice. If it’s supposed to be saving money, are you really? If you have young children, home DIY projects take away a lot of family time. You could be enjoying yourself in the park or at the beach with your children. Is redoing the roof really how you’d rather spend your summer weekend? Though, if your children are older and can help, the DIY project can indeed bring the family together rather than taking it apart.

And What about the Money?

Again, be sure you’re actually saving money and not squandering time that you could be earning more than you’re saving. However, if saving money is an important factor, and you crunch the numbers (being sure to be accurate and honest about what it really will cost you) and it is a money saving enterprise, then by all means, get out that tool box.

Do a Frank Assessment of your Skills and Aptitude

Part of being honest and accurate about the costs of a home DIY project is being frank about your own skill levels and aptitude. If you have a history of handiness, with lots of experience working on such properties, then it’s a no brainer. Some people, though, however much the allure of saving big bucks, just don’t enjoy doing maintenance and handyman work. If that’s the case, then don’t give yourself the headache; it won’t be worth the money you’ll save. Furthermore, if you do not know how to do a close to professional job you may just be setting yourself up for way more headaches and expenses in the future. This is especially pressing a concern if you’re considering work on a rental property. If the job is poorly done, not only will it increase the cost when it needs to be redone, but in the meantime your income stream may suffer if you can’t rent the property – at least not at the rent it would get if professionally maintained.

Each to His Own

There is no hard and fast rules about when it is best to hire or DIY. There are just too many variables involved. In the end, it comes down to a judgment call on your part. If you decide you want to get started as a DIYer, see our post on DIY for beginners. And if you decide to go the hire route, we suggest you read both our posts on hiring contractors and avoiding con artists. There are though plenty of honest professionals with integrity who will give you good quality for your investment if you go that route. It’s your time and money and only you know what it’s really worth.

We hope these thoughts on the pros and cons of hiring a professional or do it yourself home improvement help you think through the prospects for those potential home DIY projects you’re confronting. From the easy do it yourself projects to the arduous or dangerous projects, there’s a great range of factors to consider and options at your disposal.


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