Thanks to Pinterest and television networks like DIY and HGTV, the do-it-yourself culture is very much alive and well. DIY remodeling and interior decorating can be a great way to save some money and it gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your beautiful home is solely the result of your hard work. But DIY isn’t right for everyone and it certainly isn’t right for all situations. So before you get carried away with your next DIY project, here are seven questions to ask yourself first.
How complex is your project?
Start by doing research—a lot of research to be sure that you fully understand the size and scope of the project you want to undertake. Use a variety of sources to gather your information and take careful notes.
Understand what kind of expertise is required and think about whether you’d need to bring in subcontractors to do some of the work. Once you have an understanding of how complex the project is, you can have a better idea of whether it’s worth doing yourself.
Are there risks involved?
Repainting an old table to make it new again won’t harm your family, unless you’ve somehow managed to find lead-based paint from the early 70s. But attempting to reroute electrical, plumbing or gas lines or disturbing the structural integrity of your home can have dire consequences. If the job requires a permit or license, that’s a good sign you shouldn’t be doing it yourself, unless you happen to have that license. Never do a project that will risk you or your family’s safety.
Do you have the necessary experience and equipment?
It’s admirable to attempt a project yourself to save some money, but if you have no idea what you’re doing, you may want to reconsider. If a job will require expertise or special equipment that you don’t have, then you either need to invest some time and money in acquiring the necessary knowledge and equipment or else spend that money on a professional who already has it. If you go in without experience and the proper tools, chances are you’ll end up needing to bring in professional help anyways and you’ll end up wasting time and money.
What are your expectations of the project’s outcome?
If you want absolutely flawless results like you’ve seen in pictures you’ve found online, you may want to confront the reality that you may not achieve similar results if you do it yourself. Are you OK with results that are less than perfect so long as you achieve the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself? If the answer is no, then plan on spending the money to hire a pro.
Are you okay redoing the project if you have to?
If you’re a person that really admires the process, perhaps even more so than the end result, you may be willing to redo a project if you don’t get the results you want. But if you really want it done right the first time then maybe a DIY project isn’t the answer.
Is it worth your time to do it?
Remember that time is also money. You should place a value on your time and have some realistic expectations going in about how much time it will take you to do the project yourself. Then get estimates from a remodeler or interior designer. Then you can ask yourself whether you’d rather have the time or the money.
Are you going to enjoy the process?
If you’re someone who hates the process and just wants the end result, then you may want to reconsider your DIY plan even if it has the potential to save you some money and you’re confident in your abilities. Sometimes it’s just worth avoiding the stress by letting someone else come in and do the work.
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