When Should You Hire a Pro for Your Next Project?

Have you ever regretted taking on a home repair or remodeling project by yourself?  The easy tasks go well, but sometimes do you bite off more than you can chew?

Youre not alone.  ImproveNet, a website that links homeowners with local contractors, found that nearly two thirds of the 2000 homeowners participating in a recent survey wish they had called on a professional for at least one of their eight most recent tasks. More than half (55 percent) of people surveyed said the main reason they were disappointed was the way the job looked when they finished.

Most homeowners who go the do-it-yourself (DIY) route do so to save money. Cost is particularly motivating for young owners since most havent accrued enough equity to help with repairs and cant stretch their budgets enough to hire professional help. In todays tight housing markets, some buyers put contracts on houses that need some serious TLC, convincing themselves that they have the handyman chops to take on a moldy basement or a leaky roof making them think they can bid a little higher.

Older homeowners use professionals more than younger ones, according to the ImproveNet survey.  With equity from recent price increases, theyre more likely to have the means to make repairs and upgrades of their aging homes.

Homeowners Regrets

Homeowners have good reasons to regret tough projects. On average, when DIY projects run over budget, people spend nearly twice what they projected and waste time. The ImproveNet study found that when DIY projects run overtime, people spend an average of 22 hours more than they intended.

However, a similar 2017 survey by the National Association Realtors and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry found that homeowners who do projects themselves are slightly more satisfied with their outcome than projects done by a hired professional. For home projects by a professional, consumers reported a Joy Score of 9.6 compared to a score of 9.9 for do-it-yourselfers.

DIY couple spattered in paint apparently arguing.

Realtors participating in the NAR-NARI survey named hardwood floor refinishing as the project that recovered most of the costs when the house was sold (100 percent of costs recovered).  Ranked next were new wood flooring (91 percent of costs recovered) and insulation upgrades (76 percent of costs recovered).  Surprisingly, the Realtors study found that bathroom renovations and adding a new bathroom yielded the smallest financial return upon resale, recouping approximately 50 percent of the projects expense.

But, saving money wasnt the only reason to take on remodeling projects yourself.

Realtors also understand that many of these projects are undertaken solely to get more enjoyment from spending time at home. No matter the objectives, Realtors have unique and invaluable insights into how renovations and remodeling will bring the most benefit to homeowners, said NAR President William E. Brown.

Here are the top ten projects in the ImproveNet survey that homeowners most regretted and least regretted doing without the help of a professional.

Most and Least Regretted DIY Projects

Regretted Most

Installing floor tiles
Replacing ceiling
Refinishing hardwood floor
Installing carpet
Finishing basement
Installing hardwood floor
Refinishing cabinetry
Installing sprinklers
Installing shower/bath
Interior […]

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