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Hiring a Contractor vs DIY Home Renovation Pros and Cons

So, it's time for a home renovation project. But should you DIY or hire a contractor? If you're not sure which route is best for you, you're not alone. Most people don't actually know the pros and cons of doing home renovation projects themselves vs. seeking help from a professional contractor.

The truth is, there's a fine line between what you can feasibly do for yourself and what type of work needs a contractor. Unfortunately, most people overestimate their abilities when it comes to home renovation projects. You can easily get in over your head, turning the simple project you envisioned into a nightmare that just won't end. Ironically, you may well end up having to hire a contractor anyway, to help fix the mess you made.

This post will guide you through the pros and cons of both DIY home renovation and hiring a contractor.

DIY Home Renovation

Sometimes a home renovation project will fall within your personal abilities. If you have the skills needed to take on a project, then it may be worthwhile doing so. The key is to make sure that you're confident in your ability to start and complete the entire renovation. If you're considering DIY home renovation, here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pros of DIY home renovation

  • You determine the timeline for the project, which means that your renovation can happen as quickly or as slowly as you decide
  • You can focus on the details that matter the most to you
  • You control the budget and can usually complete a renovation for less if you do your research and compare prices for the items you need
  • You save money by not paying for extra labor
  • It's a highly satisfying and truly rewarding experience to renovate your own home
  • The more you work on your home, the more familiar you become with DIY, which means you gain the experience to take on more renovation projects successfully, saving you time and money
  • You can ensure that the results match what you envisioned

Cons of DIY home renovation

  • Renovating your home can be a big, exhausting job, especially if you work full-time as well
  • If you haven't done a similar project before, the final version may not turn out the way you expect
  • you're fully responsible for any mistakes you make along the way
  • The rest of your home can become a chaotic mess as you focus all your attention on the renovations
  • Project costs can add up quickly if you don't already have all the tools and equipment you need for the job
  • Once you've completed 80% of the project, you may find yourself taking a break which can last for years: it's really tough to push on through and complete the final 20% with no one holding you accountable except yourself
  • Improper installation of your products can void warranties, lead to bigger issues, and end up being a costly learning experience

Hiring a contractor

Even if you have better DIY skills than the average homeowner, there will be times when it's best to hire a professional contractor. There are certain projects that require specialized tools or equipment. Others may require a lot of work or heavy lifting, which in turn means they benefit from extra hands on the job. Having a professional onboard can make your life easier. So, here are some pros and cons to hiring a contractor:

Pros of hiring a contractor

  • They are experienced with most types of home renovation projects and can successfully problem-solve any issues that arise
  • You can hire a specialized contractor who is trained in the work that your project requires for high-quality results
  • Getting the job done correctly the first time will save you money compared to the cost of re-doing your own or your friends' sub-par work
  • Contractors usually have accounts with lumber yards or hardware stores and can get better prices on materials
  • A professional contractor will take care of any legal considerations, such as permits, to ensure your renovation is up to code
  • Hiring a licensed and insured contractor means that the work they do on your home is covered in case of faults
  • A quality contractor has the skills to meet all your expectations for the project in ways that you may not be able to so that you get the renovation you envisioned

Cons of hiring a contractor

  • It's unlikely that your project will be your chosen contractor's only job, which can be frustrating, as it places the timeline out of your control
  • You may want to be hands-on and present regularly, to keep track of the renovation and ensure that it's progressing as you expect
  • A contractor is not a designer and will do things the most efficient way rather than the most creative way
  • Contractors tend to have a team of people doing the work, which can make your home feel busy and chaotic

Tips for your home renovation projects

Regardless of whether you opt to DIY or hire a contractor, a home renovation project is a big undertaking. There are lots of factors to keep in mind to ensure that your renovation goes according to plan. Here are some tips to help you with your projects whether it's DIY or done by a contractor:

Tips for DIY home renovations

  • Try to keep the other parts of your home free of mess so that you and your family have a place to escape from the chaos
  • Decide on a deadline and create a schedule that will help you meet your deadline
  • Watch YouTube tutorials to learn the skills you need for the renovation
  • Do plenty of research to ensure the scope of work is within your capabilities
  • Manufacturers have installation guides available online to ensure your work meets their standards
  • Celebrate the milestones and enjoy the process - and don't forget your before and after pictures

Tips for hiring a contractor

  • Remember that the contractor and their team are humans, so be understanding of their needs such as lunch breaks, weekends off, and time off for illnesses or injuries depending on how long the project takes
  • Don't be afraid to speak up, voice your opinions, and be assertive about what you want
  • Ensure your vision aligns with the scope of work that is documented on your proposal. Verbal agreements aren't always enough
  • Create a checklist for the contractor and update it regularly

Should you hire a contractor for home renovations?

If you can afford it, then it's always best to hire a professional. Although both options have pros and cons, hiring a contractor will give you peace of mind, which is priceless.

DIY home renovations can be fun and rewarding if you're creative, but these projects can easily get out of hand. If there are legal considerations, such as permits, a contractor will know what they are and ensure that the work is up to code. You also benefit from insurance and guarantees from a contractor if there are any faults with the work that is only noticeable later on. If any of these factors are important to you, hiring a contractor is the best way to go.

Ready to DIY or hire?

Clearly, there are many factors to keep in mind when deciding whether to DIY or hire a contractor for your home renovation project. The truth is, it's up to you to determine your abilities, calculate your budget, and decide on the best route for you and your family. Sign up for HOVER, upload photos of the space you want to renovate, and use our platform to create an interactive 3D model that will help you design, adjust, and visualize your plans before you break ground. This will give you a clearer idea of what your renovation project will entail, making it easier to decide between DIY or hiring a contractor.

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