Many homeowners decide to take on an improvement project either because of cost or the desire to do something for themselves. However, sometimes it’s best to get a loan and leave the work to the professionals.
Underestimating What it Takes
According to a September 2009 article in Bankrate.com by contributor Melissa Ezarik, the do-it-yourself, or DIY, trend coincides with the American dream — rolling up your sleeves and working to make your dreams a reality. It has been further fueled by the internet and the ease with which we can obtain information.
Unfortunately, it’s sometimes too optimistic to believe the project at hand is as easy to complete as it was to follow along in the YouTube video tutorial. Small projects can easily be done on your own, such as refacing an old dresser. Larger, more involved projects, like home renovations and additions, can become a DIY nightmare if you are not experienced in the work needed to complete the project.
In fact, many homeowners have demonstrated overconfidence and lack of understanding of what goes into major home improvement projects that they take on themselves. These people often experience issues completing the project when they realize their skills are too limited, explains Ezarik.
“Say the idea is moving a wall to create some extra bathroom space. This could involve moving the plumbing in the basement, adding new floor framing, rerouting electrical wires, removing and replacing trim on the wall, matching the wall texture to the original, and painting,” says Ezarik.
Knowing When the Project is Better Left to the Pros
Some things are just better left to the professionals, says Ezarik, especially when it comes to working with electrical lines, plumbing, natural gas pipes and even installing drywall or cabinets.
“Most DIY plumbing projects are a big mistake. Not only can they be physically dangerous for homeowners, but they also could cost big bucks if they have to get problems fixed by a professional down the road or get dinged by a bad home inspection when they try to sell,” explains founder of Best Money Moves Ilyce Glink in an August 2015 article in CBS Money Watch.
Painting is another example of a home improvement project that can end up costing you if you lack the experience. Being able to see the brush strokes on the painted wall or accidentally getting paint on the ceiling or the floor will negatively affect the value of your home, as well as cost you more when you have to hire a professional to redo it all.
Considering installing your kitchen cabinetry? Think again, suggests luxury real estate sales team member Danny Hertzberg of The Jills in an August 2015 article in CBS Money Watch.
“Unless [you] really have the skill set, it shows. You might end up with a sloped cabinet or put the wrong doors in the wrong places so they don’t open correctly — it’s a space planning issue,” says Hertzberg.
In general, even if it’s not on purpose, doing a poor job with a home renovation shows your visitors and future homebuyers that you don’t care enough about the value of the home to invest and make sure the work is done correctly, suggests Glink.
While it may cost less in labor to do the work yourself, keep in mind contractors can often purchase building materials at wholesale value rather than retail, and they will most likely already have all the tools necessary for the project. Putting in the work to get a loan is a better option than paying to do the work twice.