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Why DIY Can End Up Costing More

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We all want to save money. Taking on DIY jobs around the house can be a great way to save money, but it can also be a recipe for disaster. Doing a job yourself instead of hiring a licensed contractor is often one of those "it seemed like a good idea at the time" ideas that turns out to have been a very bad idea.

Why DIY Can End Up Costing More

When you think about the cost-benefits of a DIY job, take a longer view than the immediate or potential savings. There are a number of reasons why DIY work isn't always a cost-effective solution:

If a job requires a construction permit, it probably requires a licensed contractor. Yes, you may be able to get owner-builder authorization from your state authorities, but will it save you money in the long run? As an owner-builder, you are expected to understand and comply with all relevant building codes. Your construction will have to pass periodic building inspections. If it doesn't, you will have to rectify the problems. This commonly happens to owner-builders and the costs can add up. As an owner-builder, you will still be required to hire trades for jobs you are not legally qualified to do such as plumbing and electrical work. Managing trades can be tricky. If the right person isn't there on the right day, it can hold up your work and if a contractor arrives at your home but cannot do their job, they will charge a call-out fee. If you remodel a house with a view towards selling it for a profit, professional workmanship will always attract a higher selling price. Saving $1000 by doing a job that should have been done by a professional can easily shave $5000 off the selling price. It may even turn away potential buyers. You are responsible for the results of your DIY work. If something goes wrong, your are financially responsible for the consequences. At best, you are up for the cost of repairs. At worst, you could be sued and the financial cost could be catastrophic. If you hire a licensed contractor, they are responsible for their results and must have insurance to cover it.

Before you take on any DIY job, weigh it in the balance. Are you qualified to do the job? How technical is the work? Is there danger involved? Are you legally entitled to do the work? Are you able to achieve professional results? Will your work have a positive or negative effect on the value of your property? In most cases, you're better off doing only small, semi-skilled DIY jobs. Leave the bigger jobs to qualified contractors."

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