Some people just love to do home repairs and handyman work, which is a commendable thing. Especially when finances are tight or the economy is a bit on the sluggish side, doing a job yourself can be a smart, money-saving strategy for homeowners.
But the go-get-em, DIY attitude is not always the best approach. Below are some commonsense guidelines to help you decide whether your next project gets the DIY green light, or if you’d be better off calling a professional. Let’s face it, some tasks are fun to do, while others truly call for the eyes and hands of an experienced professional. Think about your car. Unless you’re a licensed mechanic, it’s probably not a wise idea to replace a transmission on your own. On the other hand, just about anyone can learn to handle simple, essential jobs like maintaining proper tire pressure, replacing an air filter and changing oil. The same goes for home repairs. Know what you can and can’t do before jumping into a project.
DIY or call in a pro?
Before beginning any home repair job, large or small, ask yourself the following questions, and be honest when answering (it’s never smart to lie to yourself!):
- Do I really know how to do this task?
- Do I have the proper tools and equipment to complete the job myself?
- Is there a chance that I could injure myself or others while doing this job?
- Is there a chance I might damage my house by taking on this project?
- Assuming I have the skill and the tools, is this DIY project worth my time?
A common problem that arises with many DIY jobs is they end up taking too long or causing damage to the property. Putting aside the question of personal safety for a moment, consider the prospect of having to call in a professional half-way through, and paying that person not only to do the job right, but for the time they take to repair the damage you’ve done. That’s not a pleasant thought.
Maybe you have the tools, skills and safety aspects covered but the job ends up taking not just a weekend but five times as long as planned, or longer! Most people can’t afford to spend every free hour working on their home DIY projects. That’s why we call professionals in the first place. Experienced workers can do the job in the least amount of time and might end up costing less than if you did it yourself.
The question of safety
As for safety, why take the risk of hurting yourself, a family member or friend just to save a few dollars? Try to stick to fun, simple DIY jobs you know you can do, won’t take forever to complete, and won’t hurt anyone.
Go forth and repair (or not)
Do-it-yourself projects can be an educational and fun way to save a couple of dollars and gain the satisfaction of a job well done, but it pays to know you limits and be safe. The next time you consider doing a repair or improvement project, go through the questions above and when in doubt, call a professional.