4 questions to ask yourself before deciding to do your own home repair
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As a homeowner, you probably know full well that your expenses go way beyond your monthly mortgage payment, to property taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs.
If you have a home repair to do, you may be wondering whether to hire a contractor or do the work yourself. The benefit of tackling this job solo is that it saves money – it usually costs less to do it yourself. But before you make that call, ask yourself these important questions.
1. Is it safe?
You don’t want to compromise your well-being for a home repair. Before you decide to do the job yourself, ask yourself if it’s a safe decision. If this involves, for example, playing with the wiring and you are not a qualified electrician, you are probably better off calling for help. Likewise, if the job involves perching on top of a large ladder to fix your roof, you may want to hire a professional who knows how to take the right precautions.
2. Does it take time?
A leaking faucet may not take long to repair. But a major plumbing problem can take hours to resolve. Before you decide to tackle a home repair, estimate how long it will take you. Make sure you have enough time to complete the job. If you’re considering a potential seven-hour task and your schedule only leaves you a little bit of time here and there, it might make more sense to invite someone who can knock it out in a day. Otherwise, the problem could drag on until you can finish the repair bit by bit.
3. Do I have the right equipment?
Doing home repairs yourself is often more cost effective – unless the job requires a lot of tools that you don’t have. While it’s possible to rent tools from a hardware store, make sure the cost isn’t too high. If so, you might be better off hiring someone who has the necessary equipment to do the job.
4. What is the opportunity cost?
The time you spend on a home repair is time you could spend on something else. Think about what you will give up to do this job. If you’re a freelance technology consultant, for example, and billing $ 80 an hour, tackling a three-hour repair could mean giving up $ 240 in income. If so, paying someone $ 120 to come in and do the job might be a better bet – especially if it’s a job you don’t look forward to doing in the first place.
When you own a home, repairs are inevitable. But as much as you want to save money by handling them yourself, it’s important to make sure it’s the right choice for your situation.
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