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Home Remodeling? Should You Call a Contractor?

Want to save money remodeling your home – what should you think about first?

How much time do you have to devote to the home improvement project yourself? What are your capabilities and what is the quality that you expect when the job is done? Saving cash to pay a contractor may be an easier way to get the job done, particularly for critical projects, unless you have experience and/or are willing to learn new skills. Homeowner capability and desired quality outcomes are big factors in deciding on whether or not to call a contractor. The cost of home remodeling can’t be quantified in just money alone.

There are many home improvement activities that homeowners can tackle on their own, without having to call a contractor. The decision about whether to call a home remodeling contractor or not depends upon three main variables.

Remodeling contractor decision #1: Time

• The first variable is time: how much time does the home owner have to devote to doing the work themselves.

Remodeling contractor decision #2: Expected quality outcome and total costs of remodel

• The second factor is comparing the desired outcome to the available cash. You may encounter a bigger quote than you had anticipated when talking to a contractor, but those costs may take into account things you had not considered. Sometimes inexperienced homeowners cost themselves money and quality, in the long run, due to their lack of experience.

Home remodeling contractor decision #3: General mechanical and physical aptitude

• The third thing to keep in mind when contemplating whether or not you should hire a contractor is the home-owner’s mechanical and physical aptitude. Lifting sheets of sheet rock, carrying roof shingles up a second or third story high ladder, kneeling down and laying tile for hours at a time, or painting over your head, all require balance, perseverance, attention to detail and physical strength. Let’s face it, not all of us have the mental aptitude to stick with repetitive activities.

Being elderly, physically challenged, or fearing heights, are all reasons why a person might choose to call a contractor for their remodel.

When do you need a permit and/or a professional for a home remodel?

There are certain activities that require a building permit, before the work is done.

In most cases, the permits required are usually mandatory when a homeowner is changing something that is considered to be significant, such as demolishing a load bearing wall, modifying a roof line, adding or removing an egress, putting in an addition, or other structure such as a garage or shed, installing new electrical wiring, and/or moving a sink.

Consult local town officials for the specifics for your area. If you hire a contractor, they will usually pull the permit, but make sure you coordinate and allow for the time to do this in your project plan.

Saving money by splitting the work with a contractor helps manage costs and save money

If a homeowner decides to change the wiring in their house to a new amp, they will need to hire a licensed electrician for the major parts of the electrical job such as changing the electrical box, or the hookup from the street.

However, homeowners may elect to do part of the electrical job themselves by specifying that they will change the outlet and switch boxes on their own. This is a simple remodeling task that requires the outlet to be connected to the ground and electrical wires with a screwdriver and requires no permit. This job is time consuming ; doing it yourself could save several hours off your final electrician bill. Just be sure to negotiate this up front.

Saving money on a remodel can include the homeowner doing some of the easier work such as hanging the doors, putting the switch plates on, or adding the hardware to kitchen cabinetry. It is best to take a look at time, general aptitude, quality expectations and total costs before making a decision to do the project on your own. You may decide that money is not the only cost factor when contemplating doing your own home remodel.

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