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DIY or professional contractor?

Certain household improvements may look easy enough when viewed on TV or the internet, but they are not all as straight-forward as they seem. 

This brings about the dilemma of doing the project yourself or calling a professional. Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says that there are a number of factors homeowners should consider before they decide to embark on a home improvement project without the help of a professional.

The cost

Goslett says that while doing the labour yourself may seem like a more cost effective option, making mistakes could mean having to redo the project or call a professional at a later stage, which means that it is actually more expensive in the long run. He notes that homeowners should only embark on a home improvement project themselves if they are confident that they can complete the job in a manner that will add value to the property. In some cases, if the work does not appear to be professional, it can negatively impact on the home’s value and turn potential future buyers away.

Can you live without using the space?

Certain projects such as flooring, re-tiling or plumbing can take entire areas of the home out of commission for the duration of the work. “Regardless of whether the homeowner does the work themselves or hires a professional, certain jobs will mean being unable to use that specific space in the home.  However hiring a professional may mean that the job is completed within a faster time frame,” says Goslett. “Homeowners will only be able to work on the project after hours, whereas a professional will be working on the project while the homeowner and their family are at work and school.”

Do you have the time?


Often home improvement projects can take a lot of time, so it is important for homeowners to be realistic about their time constraints and whether or not they will be able to fit additional work into their schedules. “Homeowners need to carefully consider if they have the time to start and finish the project that they start. The project might be started with the best intentions, only to have piles of supplies sitting in and around the home for ages. It is vital for homeowners to be honest with themselves rather than have a permanent, unfinished item on their to-do list,” says Goslett.

Consider the worst case scenario

Not all DIY projects are as straight-forward as they seem at the outset. Although demolishing a wall might seem as if it’s just taking a sledge hammer to it, it is critical to assess whether the wall is an intricate part of the building’s structural integrity. There is also the matter of whether the wall contains electrical cabling or plumbing. All these aspects makes a seemingly easy project far more complicated.

Safety


Regardless of whether or not the homeowner has the time, tools and idea of how to undertake a project, there are certain aspects of home improvements that should be left to the professional due to the safety factor - these include aspects such as asbestos removal, gas appliance repairs, anything connected to the main electrical line and roofing.


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