Saturday, March 21, 2009

Home Repairs: Do It Yourself or Hire a Contractor

In these difficult economic times, many of us are asking ourselves more often, "can we afford this?" When it comes to home repairs, there are some things we just can't put off. When it involves water, plumbing, or electric, it usually can't wait. These are most often the repairs that require a professional as well unless you are fortunate enough to have some knowledge in these areas. When you are trying to make a decision as to whether or not to "hire a contractor there are a number of things to consider.

1. Are You Physically Able to Do the Repair?

Can you climb up on the roof to look at the leak and fix it? Are you in good enough physical condition to spend an afternoon on your hands and knees repairing the floorboard in your bathroom? Many home repairs are not pysically difficult and can be handled by a reasonably fit person. Some require more strength and agility. In order to "avoid injury, it is important to make a realistic decision regarding your ability to handle the repair in question.

2. Do You Know How to Do the Repair and/or You Willing to Learn?

There are dozens of home repair manuals available in the books stores and home improvement stores as well as numerous on-line sites with carefully written instructions. If you want to learn, you can find the information. Stores like "Home Depot and Lowe's offer classes and their employees are usually willing to answer questions and offer suggestions. Learning how to do your own home repairs may take you time, but if you are willing and able, it will save you money.

3. Do You Have the Equipment and Tools?

Once you have decided whether or not you are physically able to handle the home repair you have in mind and are willing to do the necessary research and learn how to do the repair, the next question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you have the equipment and tools you need. Do you own a 24 foot "extension ladder to reach the roof? If you are trying to save money by doing your own home repairs, buying expensive tools and equipment that you will only use once may not be worth it. If, however, you will use the tools again in the future, or the equipment required is minimal, then it is an easy decision. Sometimes you can rent the necessary equipment and still save by doing the repair yourself.

Doing your own home repairs can not only "save you money, it can be very satisfying. If you like to do hands on projects and have confidence in your ability to learn, you may find yourself taking on all sorts of projects. There is always something to do around the house the keep it in tip top shape. Keeping your home in good repair will not only make your life more comfortable, it will increase the value of the house should you decide to sell.

If, on the other hand, you just don't feel up to the challenge, by all means, "hire a contractor. If you do not have the physical ability, skill, or tools for a project, chances are you will be glad you did. Just be sure to get three estimates and three references when you are looking for a contractor. Not only compare prices, but chose someone you know you can trust to do a good job.

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