Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Home Improvement: Are You Up for it?

Being the son of a developer, I have gone through my own share of do-it-yourself home projects, and am a promoter of taking home improvement into your own hands.  However, there are several questions you will need to address before committing to such an adventure: 
  • Aesthetics: Are you up-to-date with the design and finish selection that best suites the style of your home (its location) and optimizes value?  In the same vein, will the finish selection you go with compromise the property’s re-sale value in any way?  Would a bumpy stucco job or slight unevenness in the hardwood floors bother you, for example?
  • Skill: Do you have the necessary skills to frame out a room, and do it safely while being mindful of the local building code?
  • Scale: Is the size of the project one you can handle in a reasonable period of time?
  • Bottom line: When factoring in the value of your own time, can the project be completed for less cost by a professional?  Do you have the tools, and understanding to utilize the materials needed?
The points above are all very important questions to consider before taking-on a home project.  Ultimately, one of the main differentiating factors in determining whether to do the work yourself or hire a professional is whether the work is structural in nature.  Specifically, structural elements of a building (i.e. beams, footers, headers, certain walls) play a critical role in the integrity and safety of a property’s very existence.  As such, any alterations made to the structural makeup of a property should be deferred to an architect, structural engineer, and trusted contractor.
Aside from structural modifications, it may be prudent to engage a professional when updating or modifying the ‘Systems’ of a home (i.e. the electrical, plumbing, HVAC).  Such components require proper, certified training as taking-on such work could be deadly if not done properly.
I hope I haven’t scared you, as saving money and having fun with a home project is still within reach.  There is always something to address or fix-up; and changing fixtures, refinishing hardwood floors, or installing a surround-sound speaker system can be easily handled by you with a quick reference to an online resource or call to your local hardware store.  Please feel free to contact me for recommendations on qualified tradesmen and various other resources (i.e. inspectors, designers) pertaining to residential and multi-unit properties.