A simple home renovation is always worth considering for some DIY action. However, some jobs really are too big for an untrained hand and can result in disaster; 43% of homeowners express this sentiment, according to CNBC.
Rather than taking the chisel and hammer to every issue – or opportunity – around the home, carefully weigh up the pros and cons of the job and whether it would be better to call in the professionals.
Work done badly can create a mess that leaves the home feeling unfinished and messy, or, at worst, will create a situation where your home is unfit for habitation.
As always, money is the first thing to consider. Your budget is absolutely king, and making a realistic estimate of what your requirements
1. Your financial situation
Your financial situation can tip the scale one way or another. Professional renovation can be expensive; WTOP report that a midrange kitchen remodel will set you back $20,000. If you’re strapped for cash but can’t wait to improve your home, then yes – a carefully planned DIY job will probably do the trick.
Conversely, if you are in a good financial position, there is often no reason not to call in professionals, and especially so for bigger jobs. Consider your financial history, available assets, and ability to repay credit if you choose to.
Ensure that you check your entitlements. Families in rural areas may qualify for government subsided USDA loans, and some urban areas are the focus of renovation where similar schemes operate.
In addition to the subsidized loans available in targeted areas, the US government offer a wide range of loans for specific categories and situations. There are private options available as well, such as personal loans. Search online for the lowest rates.
This ranges from 203(k) rehabilitation mortgaging, for homes over a year old, through to energy efficiency initiatives that vary from state but in most situations will enable you to make significant savings where your upgrades will make the house more energy efficient, or capable of producing its own renewable energies.
This can also boost your financial situation for future repairs and renovations – you will be able to sell energy back to the grid, and negate your own outgoings in terms of energy, providing a net benefit to your pocket that can be reinvested back into the home.
2. Commitment to the job
If you are deciding to DIY, don’t take the job lightly. Look at what you’re designing, and really think about it. Say it’s a change to a piece of furniture – get comfortable with the build of the item, what materials were used, and how they come together.
Try and obtain the same materials, or pick something that will blend in with the rest of your room. Shop around – it might be that you can get something better online for a cheaper price than collecting the materials.
Take advantage of technology – there are dozens of excellent apps designed towards managing small projects and helping you to design the home. More than anything else, stay committed to the job – finish off what you have started, and if you can’t, get a professional.
A good way to approach your job is through project management principles. This sounds corporate, but the principles underlying some of the jargon can be incredibly useful in day-to-day tasks.
Lifehacker have a list of what they consider the top project management apps, and many of these have key tools for maintaining a DIY project. This includes inventory lists, flowcharts, important sequential warnings and progress check dates.
This can also act as a great way to double check your understanding of the task at hand – if it’s all too much, it might be best to look for a second opinion.
3. The serious stuff
Changing a plug is straightforward, as is repairing a leak. However, it’s absolutely crucial that any serious jobs are left to professionals. Doing work on gas fittings, electricity or plumbing is not only expensive if messed up, but potentially dangerous.
Unless you’re trained in trade skills that enable you to make these changes to the home, you need to leave it alone. Health and safety should always be the first consideration – your family should not be placed at risk by any mooted changes.
Plus, bringing in professionals on day one means less repairs to botched jobs done previously, and a better range of quotes, seeing as the nature of the job should be fairly accessible.
Having to complete remedial work in addition to the suggested change will only make your invoice lengthen even further. When it comes to the serious aspects of house building, leave it to people with experience.
4. Choosing a professionals
If you do opt to go for a professional, it’s important for your family that you give a lot of thought to the process of picking a contractor.
According to CNN, many Americans overpay both on home purchasing and renovation work and it’s absolutely feasible that you could fall in the trap too. Think clearly about what your priorities are and how they will impact your build before paying out.
Your first consideration should be as to what specifically needs doing. If it’s furniture being adapted or put up, you may find that a handyman is more than enough for your requirements.
However, the same person will not be suited to large-scale redecoration projects, where a bespoke painter-decorator will need to get involved for the job to be done to a good standard.
DIY can bring a homely touch to your house, and is a way to save money without shirking on quality. That being said, some jobs really do require the professional touch of a tradesperson.
By all means, consider the next big job on your house – just don’t feel ashamed if you need to pay out to get it done quickly and efficiently. The key to making the right decision is planning.
Take stock of all of the requirements of your DIY job, keep close tabs on its progress, and don’t take any aspect of the work for granted.