DIY or Contractor: What Projects Require Professional Help

DIY or Contractor: What Projects Require Professional Help | IgeJohnson.com

With so many renovation shows on air and thousands of DIY inspiration boards on Pinterest, it’s not surprising to see so many people attempting to save cash and tackle some of their remodeling projects themselves.


But is DIY really the more practical choice? Let’s break down the pros and cons of doing remodeling projects yourself.

DIY vs contractor: factors to consider

There are plenty of things to evaluate when deciding whether a DIY job is the better choice. Here are some of them:

  • Cost

    Often, the biggest reason why people choose to DIY is because they want to save some money. After all, labor is one of the most expensive parts of a renovation. However, just because you’re doing it yourself doesn’t mean it’s automatically cheaper. Sometimes, the pros can get materials for much less, so that adds to your savings. Also, the cost of salvaging a failed DIY project can be really high, so don’t attempt anything above your skill level.

  • Time, Tools, and Skill

    Do you actually have time to work on the project? If not, you’re better off calling a professional. Home renovation projects often take a lot of time to do, especially if you’re not that experienced. If you don’t have power tools, a typical half-day job might take you two days to tackle. Also, if you’re not that skilled, you’re going to be spending a lot of time figuring out how to start, so keep that in mind too.

  • Safety

    Some tasks like plumbing and electrical are simply too dangerous to do yourself. Never compromise your safety and the safety of everyone else at home just to save a few bucks. If you can’t pay for a professional to do these dangerous jobs right now, then you’re better off putting it off.

  • Permit

    If the work is something that typically requires a building permit, then it’s probably too complicated to be done without the necessary skills, training, and experience. It’s best to leave it to the pros.

Choosing what to DIY

If you’re looking for things to DIY, there are still some things that are quite safe to do yourself. These include:

  • Cosmetic changes

    Many cosmetic changes like painting, wallpapering, changing small fixtures, and so on are pretty safe to do yourself.

  • Simple tiling and flooring work

    Changing your kitchen backsplash and installing vinyl or linoleum flooring can be done by an amateur.

What should you always leave to the professionals? Jobs that require special skills and safety precautions like electrical work, plumbing, HVAC work, and structural changes should always be handled by a licensed contractor.

If you’re still unsure whether to go the DIY route or to hire a professional, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or NARI, made a quiz to help you decide. Answer these questions from NARI to know what’s the better option for you!

6 Reasons to Buy a Fixer-Upper

6 Reasons to Buy a Fixer-Upper | IgeJohnson.com

Fixer-uppers tend to get a bad rep. Many people simply don’t want to be saddled with renovations after going through the length process of buying a house.


However, if you play your cards right, a fixer-upper just might be the perfect opportunity for you to get your dream home in your dream neighborhood and with more space to spare. Interested? Here are 6 reasons to buy a fixer-upper.

Let’s start with the most obvious reason.

  1. A fixer-upper costs cheaper.

    If a home needs some work done, it will definitely be listed at much lower than market price. Any money you save on the cost of the house can go into other expenses including renovations.

  2. You can get a bigger house.

    You can get more space at a lower price if you buy a fixer-upper. And then you can renovate little by little until you realize your dream home. This is perfect if you don’t have the funds to spend on a big property upfront.

  3. You get a clean slate.

    This is the perfect time for you to put on your decorating hat and customize your home to your heart’s content. With a fixer-upper, you call all the shots. You get to decide where everything goes, what colors to use, and so on. You don’t have to settle for any part of the house you don’t like.

  4. Get into your dream neighborhood.

    A fixer-upper gets you into your dream neighborhood more easily. If you want to live in a pricey neighborhood but don’t have the cash to spend on a brand new home, a fixer-upper is the way to go. A great location adds value to your home as well, so once you renovate, your home’s value will soar.

  5. You can get quicker equity.

    If you can renovate your home as soon as you buy it, its value will increase quickly. Aside from raising your net worth and the value of the house, this also allows you to refinance sooner rather than later and get a great return on investment.

  6. You can get a 203k loan for renovations.

    The Federal Housing Administration’s 203k loans gives owners an affordable way to purchase a home and renovate it immediately. This means you don’t have to dip into your own cash reserves in order to renovate as soon as possible.

Convinced that a fixer upper is just the right choice for you? Don’t make your decision just yet! On the next article, we’ll discuss the reasons to avoid buying a fixer-upper.

What First-Timers Need to Know About Pre-Approval

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Buying a home is big deal. Buying your first home? Very daunting.


If you want to make the buying process as smooth sailing as possible, it’s very important to prioritize getting pre-approved for mortgage.

What is pre-approval?

A mortgage pre-approval is a piece of documentation proving that a lender has examined your financial background including your income, assets, and debt and has committed to lending you a specific amount of money to buy property.

Why do you need to a pre-approval?

There are many benefits to getting pre-approved:

  1. You’ll know how much you can afford.

    You definitely don’t want to spend so much time and effort looking for homes and then when you finally found that perfect house, you find out that you can’t afford it. A pre-approval gives you the security of knowing what price range you can look into.

  2. You’ll be prepared for the other costs involved in buying a house.

    A pre-approval gives you a list of things you will need to pay on top of the house cost. This includes the title insurance and other closing fees.

  3. You’ll get a competitive advantage over other buyers.

    If you’re looking for property in a lucrative market, a mortgage pre-approval can really spell the difference between getting your dream home or losing it to a more “qualified” buyer. A pre-approval signals the home seller that you’re a solid candidate.

Preparing to get pre-approved

Now that you know why you need to get pre-approved, it’s time for you to learn what a mortgage pre-approval requires.

Getting pre-approved requires a lot of paperwork. Your lender will ask you to provide them with several documents so that they can make sure you’re qualified for a loan and so they can give a fair assessment of how much they’re willing to let you borrow.

Here are some of the documents you need to prepare:

  • Proof of identity (e.g. Driver’s License or Passport)

  • Proof of employment

  • Social security numbers

  • 2 months of recent bank and asset statements

  • 2 years of federal tax returns

  • 2 years W2’s

  • Recent paystubs (30 days to 2 months)

What else do you need to know?

Although getting pre-approved is a straightforward process, it can be very exhausting. Aside from making sure that you’re in good financial standing, you will need to prepare a lot of requirements to get through the entire process. This is why you need to hire a reliable real estate agent. A good realtor can make the process easier by guiding through every step.