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Home Improvement Projects: DIY or Pro?

If you have a home improvement project, should you do it yourself (DIY) or hire a pro? Even if you’re handy with tools and think you can save money, consider these factors first.

Check the time

Determine the time needed to complete a project. It can be easy to misjudge. Take painting, for example. It may not take long. It’s the rest—covering floors and furniture, correcting wall problems, taping trim, and cleanup—that eats up hours. Larger projects may take you months to complete that a contractor can finish in weeks. When you’ve come up with an estimate, decide if you want to take that much time away from work and family.

Assess other project requirements

Other factors to consider are:

  • Remember the materials—If you do it yourself, you’ll need exact measurements. Consider ordering all materials first. Check materials to make sure they’re the items you ordered and are undamaged. You’ll need a vehicle to pick up materials and dump trash.
  • Know your tools—Certain jobs require certain tools. What will you need? You may have to buy or rent tools. Do you know how to use them effectively?
  • Assess your skills—Are you capable of completing the entire project yourself? You may know electrical, but how about drywall? If not, sign up for a course at a local community college or attend a class at a home-improvement center. You could also to talk to a pro by paying for a few hours of time to pick his or her brain.
  • Plan to be safe—Doing projects at heights, using tools you aren’t comfortable with, and doing unfamiliar work can be dangerous. Nail guns can puncture building materials and body parts. If you work on a roof, there’s always the risk of a fall. With ladders, people not only can fall from them, but the ladders themselves can fall if not properly secured or braced.
  • Consider the liabilities—Many communities require permits for projects. While a reputable contractor would handle getting the permits, a DIY homeowner must remember that task and understand the requirements. If you make it a DIY project but hire casual labor to help with parts of it, there may be tax liabilities. If a worker gets hurt, you may get sued. If a worker causes a fire or major damage, it may invalidate your homeowners policy.
  • Do the math—Factor in the cost of your own time. What could you earn at work for the time you’ll spend on the project?

Finance your project

Contact Extra Credit Union for the best financing option. We can fund home improvement projects with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC is based on the value of your home and your equity in it. You get all the approved money and it is set up like a credit card with a maximum amount you can borrow against as needed for a set period. Repayment is based on an adjustable rate.

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