Part 1 – Home Repair, Remodeling, and Basement Finishes
Doing your own home repairs can be a great way to save money, but they do come with a certain level of risk. Unfortunately, as a home inspector, I see several home remodels and repairs that do not pass inspection requirements. In fact, 43% of homeowners have stated they have improperly done a home repair. So, what’s the best method, do it yourself, or pay a professional?
Between 2015-2017, more than $450 billion has gone into home repair and improvements according to the American Housing Survey. Homes are typically the largest investment most people have, so it makes sense to spend some time maintaining the home. If you are planning to sell your home in the near future, investing some money into the home for improvements is a great way to increase the likelihood that it will sell.
According to a recent study conducted by NerdWallet, the average do-it-yourself bathroom remodels costs $1,500 compared to $5,500 with a professional. If you have the skills and proper training and understanding of remodeling, it’s an easy decision to complete the remodel on your own. The easiest home remodeling and repair projects to try on your own include:
- Hanging drywall
- Baseboard installation
- Outlet replacement
- Toilet installation
There are other remodeling and renovation projects that do require the work of trained, licensed contractors. Here are the most common projects to hire out:
- Building an addition
- Roofing replacement
- Hardwood flooring installation
- Gutter installation
- Driveway paving
- Replumbing work
- House siding
When hiring a professional, always discuss the fine print of the contract. What happens if the renovation or remodel fails inspection? Most professionals will have a guarantee in place to repair any work that fails to pass inspection. Prior to hiring a contractor, always ask around to find out if they do offer guarantees, and to make sure you are working with a reputable contractor.
One of the first things most homeowners do not realize is the fact that they must have permits. There are several codes and regulations that must be met for different home repairs and remodels. Homeowners are not always aware of the regulations, which leads to serious problems down the road. Check with your municipality to learn about the different codes.
Hiring a professional that specializes in the specific type of remodeling or repair work you need can help to reduce stress, prevent serious mistakes, and allows you to rest easy knowing your home is in good hands.
Common Problems Homeowners Make
When it comes to home remodels and repair, I often see a number of issues that need to be fixed:
- Failure to use pressure-treated wood in the basement where the wood touches the flooring
- Improper ventilation for the furnace
- Electrical wiring mistakes leading to fires behind walls
- Plumbing mistakes leading to leaks and potentially mold
Watching videos online and reading books can only take you so far with certain home repairs and remodels. While there are some basic projects most homeowners can tackle, larger repairs and remodels are best left to professionals with the proper training and experience.
What You Need to Know About Home Improvement
Home improvements are a normal part of homeownership. However, there are several things you need to know about home repair and home improvement before you begin:
- Do you have money set aside for home repairs? Only 3 in 10 homeowners have money set aside to deal with home improvement needs.
- 73% of homeowners feel there is enough information online to do home repairs themselves.
- 80% of homeowners feel professionals charge too much for home repairs.
- Homeowners that have tacked their own repairs fail 35% of the time.
- Individuals under the age of 35 are 50% more likely to perform their own home repairs.
Saving for Home Repairs
The best advice I can offer is to save your money for home repairs. Within the first year of owning a home, 44% of new homeowners will have a major repair. If you do not have the money to help pay for the repair, it could cause you to cut corners and try and band-aid the repair job on your own.
Can You Do Your Own Home Repair?
To determine if home improvement projects are right for you, start by evaluating your skillset, time, and overall capabilities. Be honest with yourself. If you do not have the experience, tools, and training to work on certain projects, leave it to professionals. Botching a repair job can lead to serious financial costs in the future, and you may find yourself spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on equipment and tools needed to perform the job, only to hire a professional anyhow.
Another concern with do-it-yourself home repair projects includes concerns about injuries and additional damage. Older homes have concerns with lead paint and asbestos. Failure to remove toxic elements in the correct manner can lead to health concerns.
Compare how much it would cost a professional to do the work compared to how long it would take you to do the work on your own.
When Should I Have a Renovation Inspected?
Any remodel or renovation must pass local building codes and regulations. Professional contractors normally take responsibility for obtaining the permits needed for a home renovation project. At Reedy Set Go, I will look through your renovation work to ensure it meets all building standards. Renovation inspections are often done with each phase interval to ensure it passes code requirements.
Home Repairs After an Inspection
Following a home inspection, sellers may find themselves with a list of items that need to be repaired prior to completing the sale of the home. A lender will have a specific list of things that need to be repaired as they violate building codes, have structural defects, or safety issues. Home inspections reveal other problems, but not all of the repairs need to be made prior to the sale of the home.
If you find yourself in need of a contractor but don’t have any available to you, give us a call, we have a list of trusted contractors we can provide to you.