Being Handy Pays Handsomely
Most homeowners have a list of things they would like to do to change and improve their homes. But moving those plans off the list and into reality is often prevented by costs, especially for labor. That's why so many homeowners have adopted the "do-it-yourself" approach. Should you?
Don't think you have to be an expert in masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work to make your own home improvements. You can get help from books, magazines, videos, the Internet, or you could take a class with hands-on instruction. A bonus: When you learn to remodel, you'll become a better maintenance person, saving yourself future repair costs.
If you're just developing your handyperson skills, here are a few tips for getting the job done right at a cost savings:
- Start with modest projects, especially those with low materials costs (e.g., painting). That way you can afford to redo the project if your first attempt isn't quite up to snuff.
- Research and plan before diving in. Get the training you need or talk with experts, then outline each step of the process on paper.
- Buy, borrow or rent the proper tools. Having the right tools when you need them is critical to doing any job efficiently and well.
- If you lack the skills, patience or time to do the entire project, just do part of it. You can ask contractors for bids that list the cost of each phase of the project, from preparation to finishing, plus materials. You may be able to save a lot by knocking down a wall yourself, removing old flooring or painting a newly installed wall.
- Work with the professionals. By becoming one of the "crew," you can cut the overall cost of the project and learn a lot in the process.