Thursday Thoughts: DIY Know Your Limits
Sometimes, we just need to call in a professional. Home projects can be fun, challenging, and give us a good sense of accomplishment. But sometimes, we can mess things up and make the fix of our "DIY try" more expensive than calling a professional from the start.
I also wrote a more in-depth article for the Washington Blade on the topic. In that article, I outline 4 questions to ask before you start:
1) Is it safe? Stop and think about the project at hand. Is it safe for you to tackle? Have you worked on something similar in the past? Is the repair easy to get to or do you need a ladder? When thinking about safety, electrical repairs immediately come to mind. The job may look as simple as connecting two wires, but doing the job incorrectly can be a true safety hazard either immediately or down the road.
2) Will a botched job affect your neighbors? What if you can’t stop the water as you attempt to repair your toilet or sink? While it may look like the water would stay contained to your unit, water moves in mysterious ways. It can seep down between floors or even under walls and across to your neighbor. Flooding your condo, your neighbor’s, or your common hallway is an uncomfortable position to be in. And if you damage community property, or your neighbor’s unit, your DIY repair has just gotten really, really expensive.
3) Do I have time to do this twice? Sure, from your YouTube research the project looks like it will take no time at all. But, what if you mess up or can’t complete the project? Do you have time to call in a professional to correct your mess up? Let’s say you only have one bathroom and midway through the project you realize you can’t repair your toilet before the end of the day and need to call in an expert to help. If you are calling after hours, it’s a long wait until the morning or an expensive emergency after-hours charge.
4) Are you ready to pay for the repair twice? If you go the DIY route, you might feel like you are saving. You may think you can find less expensive parts and save on labor charges. But, if you have to follow up your attempt by calling in a professional, you will likely have to pay for parts twice in addition to the cost of the professional’s labor.
Home improvements and repairs are a normal element of home ownership. Maintaining your home is important for you while you own and live in the house. Repairs and upgrades will also pay off when you go to sell. Add to that, deferred maintenance can be very costly. But before you tackle that project, stop and analyze the best route to take. DIY can be enjoyable and gratifying, but sometimes we just need to know our limits and when it’s time to call in a professional.