Home Improvements: Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

You are thinking about doing repairs or renovations, do you hire a professional contractor or do it yourself? Although there is little doubt that many homes for sale could benefit from a few DIY improvements or stylish decor changes, there are some tasks that are best saved for a professional who can safely and quickly get the job done. How do you draw the line on what you can fix yourself and what requires a professional?

It’s Not All Easy! While some home improvements or weekend projects can be completed successfully by almost anyone, there is a big variation between amateur and pro status. Even if all you want to do is repaint a room, you have to decide if you’ll settle for “acceptable” or you want exceptional. Simple tasks can sometimes be daunting and end up not turning out the way you thought.

Only you can determine your level of expertise and set the standard that you want. In general, however, most homeowners can handle simple projects and replace light fixtures, hardware and even faucets and toilets. Anyone who can use a level, basic power tools or is detail oriented can probably install simple stock cabinets and shelving units, replace worn or outdated vinyl floor tile, weather-strip doors, and windows, and install doorknobs.

Tasks like hanging a new door, adding insulation to your attic, installing ceramic tile and even repainting an entire room don’t require a great deal of expertise, but they usually mean you’ll need a helper unless you’re okay with the process taking a while. The materials may be difficult to deal with, and the final results can reflect your status as a do-it-yourselfer, but it really comes down to how much time, effort, and research you are willing to put into a project.

What is Your Purpose? If you’re preparing your home for sale, or if you’re a perfectionist at heart, take stock of your abilities and practice on a small project before you begin a major task. Paint a piece of furniture, tile a table top to use on your patio, hang a storage cabinet in a closet or paint the laundry room. If you feel like you can easily get the small projects finished, you may want to try your hand at some of the more complicated fixes as you work your way up.

For semi-specialized renovation like hanging a chandelier or replacing a faucet, you can always seek advice from a handy neighbour or sit in on a workshop at your local home improvement store. There are many helpful guides in the form of articles or videos on the YouTube as well.

That said, professional services exist for a reason. Some projects require a lot of know-how or are simply very time-consuming for an individual to complete – if safety is ever a concern, hiring an expert may be the better route to take. Sometimes you will get an estimate that is well within your home improvement budget.

When in doubt, ask your real estate agent what they think! They will have experience working with all kinds of sellers and will be able to point you in the direction of a reputable contractor if you decide to go that direction.