Home Improvement: DIY or Hire a Professional?

Posted by Justin Havre on Monday, July 31st, 2017 at 1:41pm.

How to Choose Whether to DIY a Project or Hire a ProfessionalWondering how to improve home value and thinking about DIY projects? Do-it-yourself home improvement manuals and stores would have you believe that it's easy to complete all sorts of home repairs.

Although there is little doubt that many homes for sale could benefit from a bit of DIY remodels and stylish decor changes, there are some tasks that are best saved for an East Calgary professional who can safely and/or quickly get the job done.

Just where do you draw the line on what you can fix yourself and what requires professional intervention?

It's Not All Easy

While some home improvement projects can be completed successfully by almost anyone, they're not all easy. There is as much variation between amateur and pro status in "home work" as there is in sports. 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.

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basic power tools or is detail oriented can probably install simple stock cabinets and shelving units, replace worn or outdated vinyl floor tile, weatherstrip doors and windows, and install doorknobs. Not all home improvement projects have to be massive. Some seasonal summer DIY projects can be completed in as little as two hours with minimal tools.

Tasks like hanging a new door, adding batt 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.

Define 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 tabletop 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 neighbor 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 internet 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, you may want to hire a professional. 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.

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