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DIY vs. Hiring Professional Contractors

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Are you planning on having some major work done on your house and you are uncertain whether you should take a DIY approach or not? The team behind Bricks + Agent is here to help you make an informed decision.

If you are considering a small home project, DIY can be a cost-effective alternative to spending money on a contractor, however, you must be careful not to take on more than you can handle.

What You Should Not Do Yourself

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There are certain jobs that you should never attempt to do by yourself. These include electrical work, gas work, or anything that requires permits or licenses. The main reasons why these jobs require the experience of a professional contractor are:

  • They are a health hazard. The first question you should ask yourself before deciding to DIY are ‘What are the risks involved?’ and ‘What is the worst that can happen if I make a mistake?’ In some cases, an accident or a mistake could be life-threatening. If there is even the slightest risk of injury, then you should think twice before grabbing your toolbox. 
  • They could damage your house. Certain jobs such as plumbing, installing bathroom appliances, or anything that involves pipes and water can fit into this category. Consider hiring a tradesman for plumbing jobs to ensure they install everything correctly and avoid any future problems. If a leak happens behind a wall, for instance, it could go unnoticed for a very long time until the damage becomes noticeable. By hiring a plumber, you minimize the risks of this occuring, and if somehow, it does happen, then your tradesman with be liable for damages.
  • You are required by law to hire a professional contractor. Certain jobs, such as electrical, or projects that involve working with gas must be performed by professional contractors. There are some things that you should know before hiring an electrician such as the costs involved or how to choose the right person for the job. Additionally, jobs that require a building permit are also much too complicated and difficult for a DIY.  Laws and regulations differ from country to country, so consider doing research in order to find out what you can and cannot do by yourself. .

 

What You Can Do Yourself

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Now that you know what jobs should never be DIY-ed, you might be wondering what the ones that you can do by yourself are. Well, we assure you that there are plenty of remodeling and renovation jobs that will not put you at risk and that you can definitely handle by yourself. Here are some examples:

  • Seasonal Maintenance. If you are a do-it-yourself enthusiast, then this is the ideal job task for you. Seasonal maintenance tasks do not require a permit but can be time-consuming. Because routine maintenance must be taken care of on a regular basis, you will save money if you do it yourself. Some common seasonal maintenance tasks are: mowing the lawn, pruning trees and shrubs, washing the windows, repainting the fences, fertilizing your garden or your lawn, replacing the filters on the air conditioners, and cleaning out gutters. Seasonal maintenance can be handled by almost anyone, but take care when handling power tools. According to Australia Bureau of Statistics, thousands of Australians are injured at home each year.
  • Be your own project manager. If you are planning on doing some serious remodeling or renovating on a budget, and you cannot handle everything by yourself, try being the manager of the project, also known as a general contractor. You will have to hire, organize, and pay different tradesmen such as carpenters, plumbers, roofers, etc, but you can save up to 20%, which is generally the general contractor’s fee. Doing this is effective when you need less than four subcontractors, and when you have enough experience and knowledge to be able to coordinate them and to know what the final result should be. 
  • Work alongside the contractors. If you have the time but lack the knowledge and care about your budget, then you can lend a helping hand. By contributing your own labour to the job that is being coordinated by a team of professional contractors, will save you money. You can help them tear out kitchen furniture and appliances before installing the new ones, help with small demolition tasks, you can help peel old paint or pull up the old flooring, or you can help with the daily cleanup. Working alongside the tradesmen that you hire is especially efficient when you are dealing with jobs that are more labour-intensive than difficult, but make sure you are not interfering with any important parts of the job, and that you are not getting in anyone’s way.
  • Add the finishing touches. Unlike the early stages of a renovation job or a remodeling job, which usually require professional expertise, most finishing touches are rather simple and more DIY-friendly. If for example, you had the exterior of your house repainted, then you can do the cleaning yourself. Additionally, if you have the necessary skills and enough free time, you can set your own tiles, lay the flooring, or even paint the walls.

If you are looking forward to making your home renovation a personal project, and you're ready to invest your time and energy, then it is a great idea to DIY. If you want the job done as fast as possible, and you don’t have enough time to handle it yourself, the best thing to do is to consider hiring a contractor.

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Topics: Home Improvement, Property Advice

Rafael Niesten

Written by Rafael Niesten

In his early 20s, Perth local Rafael Niesten, won a scholarship to study in Canada, with that came the opportunity to volunteer at a local radio station. That spawned his entrepreneurial streak, returning to Perth in 2001 he set up community radio Groove FM. More by luck than design, they became successful, too successful as they took a significant chunk of the Perth Market. This sent up the red flag with his commercial competitors who saw to it that he came before the Australian Broadcasting Authority and on technicalities such as the number of volunteers he was forced to move on. He received the citizen of the year award for Western Australia (youth) and was a finalist in the Australian of the year awards (Youth). Falling on his sword he turned to running small and large scale events, all the while buying, renovating and selling properties. Buying and selling land and renovated houses provided a grounding in the property industry. He founded a cloud based medical grade voice recognition company, followed by co founding the first true cloud application for private practice in the health sector. He successfully exited these ventures at the end of 2016 and began building Bricks+Agent.

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