6 home projects that require you to hire a pro

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A contractor is working on a kitchen renovation.

Image source: Getty Images

There is such a thing as being too hands-on at home.


Most important points

  • Owning a home is like having a potentially endless list of projects you both need and want to do.
  • If the repair or repair involves toxic or otherwise hazardous materials, hire a professional.
  • Large projects such as roof replacement and construction also require teams of professionals.

If you own a house, you have an entire building (or more, if you have a shed, garage, or other outbuildings) to tinker with and really make it your own. This is a very exciting thought for many people, and you may be eager to dig in and make some much-needed repairs, and perhaps save some money by trying to DIY.

But depending on what you want or need to do with your home, doing it yourself may not be a good idea. Messing up a home repair or project can result in wasted time, wasted money, and even health risks. Hire a professional for these home repairs.

1. Remove hazardous substances

If you own a home that is old or poorly maintained, you may be dealing with lead paint, mold, or asbestos (which, fun fact, can be present in popcorn ceilings). These materials should be handled by a professional trained to minimize the risks to themselves and the people living in the home. In addition, hazardous material removal often requires specialized equipment that you may not have access to (or that would be too expensive to justify purchasing it just to work on your own home). And this kind of work may even require a permit.

2. Foundation repairs

The foundation of your home is the bones, and if you suspect there’s a problem with them, you’ll definitely want to call a professional. A foundation repair company can identify cracks in your foundation and know what they mean. They also know how to solve your problem in a sustainable way without causing further damage, and can make recommendations to prevent future problems.

3. Housing additions

Not all hiring opportunities are negative. Maybe you’ve just decided to build an addition to your home to house your office for your new career as a freelancer. Congratulations! This is a HUGE job, you will probably need the help of several people. You need a design architect, a general contractor and the subcontractors who will do much of the work. In addition, permits are required and a professional contractor knows how to obtain them. If you’re really confident in your building skills, you might be able to play some of these roles, but it’s almost certain you’ll need some help.

4. Large-scale electrical work

Let’s get back to the security concerns. Someone with decent handyman skills might be able to install a new porch light or turn off a ceiling fan. But if you need a full rewiring or a new fuse box, call an electrician. Electricity can kill you and you should not trifle with it.

5. Replacing the roof

This is truly one of the most costly and labor intensive home projects, and while doing it yourself you can save a great deal of money, but you are at the mercy of the weather and securing all the right materials, and again, if you’re unsure of ladders and heights, you could injure yourself (or spend a really miserable weekend on your own roof).

6. Tackling serious pest infestations

Back to hazardous materials! If you have a major pest problem, such as families of mice or squirrels in your walls, or more cockroaches than you thought possible, you should call in a pest control agent. While I’d recommend you tackle a minor spring ant problem yourself, let someone else do the dirty work if heavy chemicals or lots of traps are involved.

How can you pay for repairs to your home?

I understand the impulse to save money as a homeowner – after all being one is expensive! So you can look at the list above and feel disappointed with how much all this is going to cost you.

Here are some options for paying for the above projects:

  • In the case of emergency repairs, it pays to have a special fund for emergency home maintenance (such as money in a designated “bucket” in a high interest savings account).
  • You can plan and save extra money in another “bucket” for large non-urgent projects, such as your new office expansion.
  • You can finance a home repair with a personal loan; the money can be used for anything you want, and if you have good credit, you may get a decent interest rate.
  • You can turn to a home equity loan, which gives you a fixed amount and a fixed period to pay it back with interest.
  • Finally, you can think of a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which also attracts your equity in the form of money that you can withdraw at will and on which you must make payments. The interest on this is variable, so be careful.

Yes, it can be expensive to hire a professional for home repairs, but if you try to make these yourself, you could really mess something up and have to pay to get it fixed, or even hurt yourself. So play it safe and err on the side of caution for the best results.

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