Renovation Tip of the Week: Hire it Out or DIY?

You guys have been with me through the thick and thin of 3 top-to-bottom home renovations. Through this series I hope to share with you some of the tips and tricks that have helped me save everything from money to my sanity (for the most part).

Renovation Tip of the Week

Before you buy a home and start renovating it, there’s a huge question you need to answer – who’s going to do all that work?

How you answer this question will have a huge impact on your budget, timeline, and even the projects that will be undertaken, so it’s important to think long and hard about whether you’ll be DIY’ing the renovation or hiring trades to do the dirty work.

If you’re unsure about whether you should tackle the project on your own, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I enjoy doing renovations?

If the answer is “no,” then you’re going to dread each day of the renovation and that’s no way to live!  Save yourself the headache and hire a pro.  If the answer is “yes,” then move on to Question #2.

2. What is my skill level?

Think of everything that will need to be done to complete the renovation – do you know how to do it all (and do it well)?  Even the most fledgeling of DIY’ers can tackle parts of the renovation – painting, some demolition, even installing baseboards and crown molding, but you’re best off hiring out the jobs that you aren’t positive you can handle.  (Of course, friends and family members are great resources – if they’re ready, willing and able to pick up the slack, then by all means let them!)  And if you aren’t even sure what needs to be done, well then . . . do I even need to say it?  :)

3.  How involved do I want to be in running the renovation?

Hiring and scheduling trades, deliveries and a zillion other things is a huge part of making sure that a renovation runs smoothly.  You can handle all of this on your own, or you can hire a contractor to do it for you – at a price, of course.

4. How much money can I afford to spend on the renovation?

It’s typically more expensive to hire a contractor (or to hire the trades directly) than it is to do the work yourself – labor can be as much as 50% of the entire cost of a renovation!  Of course, the old phrase “time is money” comes into play here – keep in mind that carrying costs can add up quickly when a renovation drags along while you tackle one project at a time.

5. What’s my deadline for having the renovation complete?

There are tons of factors that should be considered when answering this question, such as whether you will be living in the home during the renovations, or if you’re planning on renovating it and selling it as quickly as possible.   Professional trades are used to tackling projects like yours, and they can likely give you a pretty precise estimate as to how long it will take them to do the work.  Also, if you plan to undertake some of the renovations on your own, understand that this can also slow down the project because trades are used to working with and around each other to make the project run efficiently, while you may not necessarily know how to effectively work alongside the hired trades.

Whew!  Enough things to think about for today.  :)  Have you tackled any renovation projects in your home?  Let’s hear all the gorey details!

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  1. christy says:

    Great ideas of things to think about Liz! I soooo wish we’d hired someone to do the shower tiling of our guest bath when I was pregnant with the Foo. It literally took ALL summer. And I was pregnant! I spent countless hours sitting in a folding chair at the bathroom entryway watching Matt put up tiny tiles sheet by sheet. Miserable!!!! NEVER again will we undertake a tiling job like that – as you said TIME is MONEY!!!

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Ugh, that sounds agonizing!!! I’m super impressed that Matt tackled it, though – I remember that renovation recap is one of the very first posts I ever read on your blog! Ahhh, the memories… :)

  2. Meredith says:

    Great tips!

  3. These are wonderful tips. I think the biggest thing we consider is deadlines, but they are all important. Looking at how fast your flip is going makes me a wee bit jealous…. but it’s all in deadlines, right? ;) Just tell me that so I feel better. haha….

    I really like this series.
    Kim@NewlyWoodwards´s last blog post post ..Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

  4. Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

    Kim, you guys are rockstar DIY’ers! I can’t imagine how proud you must feel of all you’ve accomplished with the house so far – I know I’m beyond impressed. From what I can see, you’ve definitely got it under control!