Expert Awards

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When to Hire a Home Professional: Home Expert Awards

To DIY or not to DIY, that is the question. DIY could potentially save you money, whereas professionals ensure quick completion and superior craftsmanship. With so many variables, when is it appropriate to go at it alone?

Our experts tell us which projects are fit for DIY and which are best suited for a professional. Curious to see what they had to say? See the top five answers.

For our seventh Blog-Off, DeAnna Radaj of Bante Design asked our panel of expert interior designers, contractors, realtors and green builders to weigh in.

We are compiling the information from our experts into a must-read article outlining the ultimate guide to hiring a professional. As a preview to this article, we wanted to outline the top 5 comments from our experts.

When and why should a homeowner hire a home professional?

Whether it be an interior designer, contractor, consultant, or installer, what is the reason to hire a professional?

When is it appropriate to hire and when should you DIY?

Are there any jobs that you shouldn’t hire out (i.e. maybe it is not the best use of a professional’s time)?

Most importantly, which jobs are appropriate for which profession (we encourage a breakdown by trade or definitions of what each trade typically does!)?

Do you believe there should be differentiation?

Or can one professional do it all?

Lastly, as always, how does price factor into all of this?

Most Inspiring

"When preparing for a project, whether at home or work, I ask myself a series of questions:

Is this work potentially dangerous for me to attempt myself? If there are health or safety concerns due to inexperience or the type of work or materials involved, I hire professionals.

Will doing it myself save a lot of money? Obviously, some projects are more affordable to do oneself than others. If I can do the work myself in a reasonable amount of time and at huge savings, I am likely to give it a try.

Can I produce quality results? For specific types of work, my own results may be superior to that of a professional's. In the same sense, I consider how much I could bugger things up. I have heard too many stories of mechanics, contractors, and other professionals having to fix long lists of issues after a DIYer screwed up a project." read more

Stuart gives a very helpful checklist of his thought process when deciding whether or not to hire a professional. We found this particularly insightful because it not only gives homeowners a guide to follow when considering their role in a project, but it also teaches them how to think like a professional. Doesn't it say something if a contractor goes through the same exact thought process as homeowners should when deciding whether or not to hire outside help? It means no matter what your skill level is, you should always be thinking of the pros and cons of DIY vs. hiring a professional.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Creative

"'My motto is…Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.' Before starting a remodel, it is important to develop a plan of the space first. To do this one must hire a professional. Having a professional plan drawn up is the best money you will ever spend. A plan puts everybody on the same page and empowers the home owner to go out and get apple to apple bids. I would then recommend getting three bids from licensed and insured contractors and then evaluating them with your designer. Your designer is your representative and they can help you to qualify the bids you receive. A designer will also make sure their job is done with the best quality and oversee the construction of the project. Remember design is cheap in the long run and will make up the money you spent by eliminating costly change orders." read more

Patricia encourages us to think about the bid process during a remodeling project. She explains how it is pivotal to have a plan before contacting contractors in order to accurately compare the bids. One way to ensure you have a plan is to call on the help of a designer, who can make sure your project plan is complete for contractor review. She explains a key benefit of hiring a designer: he/she is the project manager throughout the remodel, ensuring the job is completed successfully. When working with multiple contractors, having someone to manage all the different professionals involved can ensure less stress and quicker completion, so thinking about how complex your remodel is will help decide whether or not to hire a professional.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Insightful

"Most jurisdictions allow a homeowner to work on their own home providing they check with the local building authority to see what is required to do so. This is a necessary step, most importantly to protect the health and safety of you and your family. You should check with your insurance provider to ensure that you are not compromising your coverage on work you do yourself." read more

Terry was one of the only experts to point out that homeowners <em>are</em> allowed to work on their own homes without a license. Most of our experts pointed out how many trades require a licensed professional to complete a project, yet Terry reminded us that it <em>is</em> acceptable to work on your own home. Still, despite it being okay, Terry recommends you check with your local building authority to learn the requirements for your area. He explains in some cases, you may need to get your work inspected by a professional or obtain a permit.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Articulate

"The key word here is professional. Sure you can take out a splinter, but would you tackle a major surgery? No; you would definitely go to the doctor and let the professional do it! You would trust only a qualified doctor to handle your body. It is the same thing with your home remodeling. Sure you can change a doorknob, but would you tackle a major home renovation? The correct answer here is no! You should go to a professional and let them handle your most valuable asset…your home!" read more

Bill describes the DIY vs. professional help conundrum well with the help of some useful metaphors. He explains the key with any project is to determine how much involvement and specialized knowledge the remodel requires. A home is one of the most important purchases a person will ever make in his/her life, so make sure the work done on it is perfect. If you feel you cannot execute a perfectly completed project, then leave it to a pro.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Informative

"As to can one professional do it all, well that can be a recipe for disaster. More complaints have been filed by consumers whose general gontractor did it all but did not have the required license for the other trades i.e., electrical or plumbing, and the result was shoddy work. Most states (not all) require licensing in electrical, plumbing and engineering so anything related to these trades should always be done by a licensed professional as there are potential hazards and liabilities at risk for both parties. General contractors for example, cannot themselves do the electrical or plumbing unless they are licensed in that trade as well, but that's not typical. Those jobs will be sourced out to the trades and rightly so." read more

Jody summarizes the sentiment of all our experts: any work that requires specialized expertise, like plumbing, electrical, or engineering work, should be left to a licensed professional. This information is important whether you decide to go at it alone or hire a professional, because if you <em>do</em> decide to hire help, you need to think about which professional is qualified. A general contractor is not appropriate for all projects (even if they claim they are) so you need to make sure you are informed to make the correct hiring decision.

eLocal Expert Network