DIY or hire out home repairs?


Man with beard on a ladder getting ready to paint a wall
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5 questions to help you choose whether to fix something yourself or hire a pro.

Many homeowners enjoy completing household repairs with their own hands. Others get more satisfaction when they hire someone to check off tasks on their fix-it list. No matter which camp you’re in, inevitably there will be some projects that make sense to DIY—unless they don’t. Use these questions to choose which way to go.

Do your skills match the job?

Painting a wall is fairly straightforward, calling for basic skills that most people can quickly learn. Painting kitchen cupboards is a complex job, requiring careful preparation and advanced painting skills to get good results. Do you have the skill to do the job at hand to complete the job?

Safety is also a concern. Jobs that require ladders or power tools are just two examples where lack of skill could result in injury. Assess the job against your skill set and ability to do the job safely. Paying a pro may be a better choice than getting hurt and having to pay for a medical deductible.

Are you a perfectionist?

Are you okay with flaws in your home? Or will something like an uneven grout line bother you every time you see it? If you can live with results that may be slightly imperfect, go for it. If not, hire a pro.

If you’re okay with “good enough” and planning to sell your home, keep in mind that shoddy-appearing work could turn off prospective buyers.

Are you willing to learn about the repair?

Do you enjoy tracking down YouTube videos with home repair tips and talking to the staff at the local hardware store? Do you have enough patience to troubleshoot a problem that arises because you’re learning as you go? If being a handy homeowner brings you satisfaction, go for it!

A steady stream of home improvement shows might give the impression that everyone is interested in DIY fixes. It’s not true! If you have no interest in learning how to replace a faucet, or whatever else is on your fix-it list, that’s okay! Hire it out.

Do you have the time required to do the job?

Anyone who’s ever tackled a home repair knows that nearly 100% of the time, it takes longer than planned. An extra part is needed. Something else broke during the repair. A special tool is required. Realistically, do you have time for a DIY repair?

Homeowners who are pressed for time may find it’s better to hire out repairs. For some, it’s a matter of protecting precious free time. Others see it as time to do paid work that brings income that covers or even exceeds the cost of repairs.

Are special tools or permits required?

Many homeowners enjoy having a collection of tools as much as kids enjoy a collection of toys. However, even those with an array of tools can face a repair that requires a special tool. Is it the price of the tool worth the investment if you only use it once?  Do you have storage space for it? How does the cost of buying or renting the tool compare to hiring the job out?

Some plumbing, electrical and structural work requires a permit. Often, permitted work requires inspections by the city or township that issues the permit. Unless you 100% understand local building codes and can adhere to them, hire a pro. Getting a repair done right the first time is more cost-effective than paying for a fix gone wrong.

Consumers helps more than 2,000 members finance land, first and second homes, and home improvement projects each year. We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit; contact us online or call us at 800-991-2221.

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Consumers home loans

We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit.

Learn more

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