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Should I do it Myself?

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Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years thanks to Martha Stewart Living, HGTV, and other popular home improvement shows and publications. And, for certain small projects, a DIY project can be rewarding and fun - if you are prepared and have the proper skills.

But before you start a major project, such as a basement finish, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you familiar with local and national building codes?
  2. Can you buy materials at a better price than a professional?
  3. Do you have the time to complete this project (be realistic!)?
  4. Have you ever undertaken a project like this before?
  5. Will you sacrifice quality and satisfaction to save cost?
  6. Do you have the specialized tools for the job?
  7. Do you have the necessary skills for this project?
  8. What will you give up to make time for this project?
  9. Do you understand all the safety issues associated with this project?
  10. Are you familiar with the architecture and structural makeup of your home? (i.e., how knocking down one wall will affect the rest of the structure)?
  11. Have you considered the hidden costs associated with doing it yourself - time, tools, and the possibility that you may actually decrease the value of your house if the result isn't up to professional standards?
  12. Will you end up paying, possibly at a higher rate, for a professional to come in and finish up or fix your work later on?
It is easy to look at the cost of hiring a professional and think only of labor and materials. But remember that a professional offers you an important service - years of experience, the right tools, a network of suppliers and subcontractors, and an in-depth understanding of legal regulations, cost estimating, scheduling, warranty, and overall ease of mind.

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