Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When to DIY - or Not!

In this challenging real estate market, we knew that we couldn't subcontract all the work and still make a profit when we sell a renovated house. So we always had an expectation that we would do a lot of the work ourselves - after all we love working on old houses. And we have lots of experience from all the work we've done in our homes over the years.

Dominic Dibiase - Succhini Plumbing
But we still had to decide what made sense to do ourselves. And where we needed other expertise.

Clearly, we couldn't do the electrical work and needed experienced professionals. The same for plumbing and heating.  We use licensed contractors for this kind of work.
Drew Mayer - Waterhouse Builders 

We feel the same about major construction - moving load bearing walls, new porches, new windows, etc.  This takes a lot of expertise (as well as muscle!) and we rely on experts who can do it a lot faster and safer than we can.  We also use contractors for big jobs like basement waterproofing and masonry repair.

And while we are certainly capable of installing drywall (we've done it many, many times), doing a ceiling would probably land us in divorce court.  It's not a fun husband and wife job!  So we'll leave that to the professionals.
Mike Backman - Waterhouse Builders

What other projects do we avoid?   Painting the exterior, way up high on a ladder??? No way!! Remember, I fell off of a paint bucket and broke my wrist and foot on our last project.  We leave that to professionals who can easily scale up to the top of houses (makes me dizzy just thinking about it!).

Finally, we think refinishing floors with a drum sander requires the skill of a professional. We would hate to mess up the beautiful old floors we find in these houses.  So for installing a new floor or refinishing existing floors, we leave that to the expert hands.

But for repairing drywall, trim work, installing kitchen cabinets, and painting - we can easily handle that. We also do our own tile work, some finish carpentry and simple plumbing like toilet replacement. I've also recently learned some new skills, like replacing art glass in old windows.  And best of all, the team of talented professionals that help us are always available with advice and guidance when we need some help.

What kinds of projects do you leave to professionals?  Or decide to do yourself?

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  1. My budget dictates what jobs I hire out. If I can, I hire out most skilled labor jobs. I do most of the barely skilled grunt work, i.e. painting, scraping, etc.

    1. We can identify with grunt work!!! I think about that all the time when I'm stripping wallpaper and sanding trim work!

  2. I'm a little nuts in that I have no problem painting my house, including the three-story back which is about 35 feet high! It's not fun, though.

    1. 35 feet up in the air??? Wow, you're much braver than I am. I get dizzy on stepladder!!!


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