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Home Renovation - Do it Yourself or Hire a Pro?


Do it yourself...or not? You could literally spend months pondering whether to save money by doing the project yourself or...to break into the piggybank and hire a pro. Not an easy decision.

Let's break it down into a few basic questions. After you're done, check out my chart of "do it yourself or hire a pro" recommendations for various types of projects.

How Motivated Are You to Do it Yourself?

Have an uncontrollable desire to knock down interior walls? To renovate an entire kitchen? Or do you find that painting the baby's room one Sunday is quite enough to scratch that renovating itch? It's important to gauge how much you want to take on yourself before doing it.

Recommendation: Take on some small projects first to make sure you really want to "do it yourself" before tackling larger projects.

How Motivated Are You to Have Strangers in Your House?

They're in your house to help you, but in the process they turn your house upside-down. And managing work crews in your house is a taxing proposition. Do not underestimate the imposition of four workmen hanging drywall in your house for a solid week.

Recommendation: Decide how muchlack of control in your house you can tolerate before inviting workers in.

What is Your Skill Level?

You have the power to take on any renovation project. A person who barely knows how to plug in a blender is capable of learning how to re-wire the entire kitchen. However, remember that your kitchen is your classroom. While you learn to distinguish ground wires from neutral, the kitchen is a disaster and you're washing sinks with a garden hose on the lawn.

Recommendation: Make certain you're at the proper skill level (or can learn quickly enough) to bring the project to a swift conclusion.

Do You Have the Time?

Tiling the bathroom is one thing. Tiling the bathroom at 9:30pm after a full day of conference calls is another thing. And don't you also have a life to lead?

Recommendation: Know in advance how much time you want to put into a project--before starting it.

How Does Your Funding Look?

Money, or lack of it, motivates the do-it-yourselfer. While there is a certain satisfaction in replacing your front door yourself, chances are Bill Gates hires someone else to do this for him.

Recommendation: If you have the money, and the project looks infinitely nasty, consider hiring a pro.
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