Should I do my Home Renovation Myself?

Generally, YES! But, its conditional.

First, you have to know your level of expertise. This is critical so you don’t either get yourself hurt or get in over your head. Be honest about your experience. Sometimes it pays to learn a trade or two through classes at the local home improvement store or on websites like YouTube and Udemy. Surprisingly, there is little you cannot learn if you have the passion and a bit of time to do so. There is always a risk you might goof it up, and then, have to hire the expert anyhow. Know the risks before you swing the hammer.

Second, know what really adds value and what doesn’t. Apply this simple formula.

Simple Renovation Formula

For instance, I have found that certain tasks like small pluming projects are very worthwhile. Lets say a plumber would charge me $800 to do a relocation of the hot and cold water lines for a bathroom remodel and I can do this for myself in 5 hours plus $40 in materials, then labor is $760 / 5 or $152 per hour!! On the other hand, lets say a demolition company would charge $500 for the demo of the same bathroom and haul the stuff away where it might take you all weekend, $500 / 16 or $31.25 per hour and you’re still left with all the debris! So, evaluate each project and each trade carefully using some simple math. You can also use this to evaluate the level of stress you’re going to incur and then say, “is it worth it to me to do this if I can only really pay myself $15 per hour?”. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Note: Projects ALWAYS take longer to complete then you plan. Its just how the human mind works (over optimistic and over confident in our abilities). So, just be realistic with durations.

Third, know the law and permits. Some projects require permits, others don’t. This is another time consuming process that you might not want to deal with and is often handled by the contractor who is licensed, bonded and insured.

Mostly I love this stuff so I tackle as much as I can. But, I’m getting smarter and hiring people to do things when the math just doesn’t make sense. Occasionally I find the learning curve too steep and the projects way to time consuming. As a result, I hire the experts.

Spend the time thinking through things first, be REALISTIC about level of complexity and durations, know the laws and have fun!

Good luck!

Chris