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Should You Hire a Contractor for That House Project, Fix yourself or sell as-is?

We know you want to save money, right? By in the long run if you do repairs yourself and don't really know what you are doing that trim can be cut to short, thus leaving a huge gap, and even if you try to cover it with caulk it won't look that appealing to your potential buyer.

What are the benefits of hiring a general contractor?

A contractor is different from a handyman or similar professional in skillset, licensing, and expertise.

While general contractors coordinate and execute larger home renovation projects, other types of contractors (subcontractors) specialize in a particular trade, such as roofing, plumbing, carpentry, or electrical work.

Contractors typically must be licensed by the state and carry an installation or workmanship warranty to guarantee they’ve done the job correctly.

Because they’re licensed, these professionals also must ensure that their work meets code requirements. (A skilled handyman is unlicensed but is an economical option for smaller jobs).

The benefits of hiring a contractor depend on the scope of the job. In general, they protect you as a home seller from higher material costs in doing the work yourself and any legal liability should the work be done incorrectly.

If you need more convincing to hire a pro, these are the main advantages:

1. Major projects have a steep learning curve, even if you think you’re handy

It’s understandable that homeowners want to save time and money where they can when selling a house, but depending on the repair, not hiring a contractor can get you in over your head.

2. Pull the right building codes and permits

Although you don’t need a permit on every home repair, a contractor will know when you do need one.

Curious about the rules around permits in your area? Review this resource list with links to all 50 states’ building codes.

3. Follow proper construction methods, take the right safety precautions, and buck legal liability

A licensed contractor must undergo strict regulation.

The licensing board also requires that contractors carry workers’ compensation coverage. Not only do you want to save the time and headache of redoing work that isn’t done properly, you don’t want to be held liable for any workers injured on the job.

4. Get better prices on materials and labor

Contractors not only have specialized knowledge but contacts with subcontractors they can hire and discounts on materials. On materials alone, contractors can save big at retailers whereas consumers will pay full price for materials. Home Depot, for example, offers reduced pricing on orders over $1,500, plus bulk pricing on more than 4,000 products such as roofing, pavers, drywall, and paint supplies.


Is there anything to gain from a DIY job?

Again, this depends on the type and size of project you’re undertaking, as well as your own expertise. You might not see the need to hire a maintenance or remodeling contractor to change out a light fixture if you’ve done that previously—plus…

1. You could save as much as 35%.

Insurance company Nationwide notes that homeowners who act as their own general contractors can save as much as 35% of project costs, including labor, materials, and appliance costs. (The Chicago Tribune estimates similar savings of 10%-35%.)


2. You get direct supervision of any subcontractors.

Acting as your own general contractor means you’ll also directly supervise any subcontractors, which might appeal to you if you have a hands-on personality and the ability to be on site whenever something’s installed.

You’ll select who’s right for the job based on your own research and referrals, plus select suppliers.

Be aware that you’ll also have to check that they have the right insurance and warranties, as well as know how to track their progress and pay everyone on time.

Hire a contractor for these bigger projects

A general rule of thumb is that you’ll want to hire a contractor or specialist for any issue that might crop up during a home inspection. This includes:

  • Plumbing fixes, such as leaky drains or slow faucets, as well as any pipe replacement.

  • Electrical upgrades, such as installing a new electrical breaker panel—the current minimum requirement is 100 amps.

  • Roof repairs, including replacing shingles, flashes, or decking.

  • Servicing the HVAC (or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) by cleaning filters, flushing drain lines, and measuring amp draw and electrical current.

  • Scoping out the sewer system, showing the condition of the pipes and any leaks.

  • Pest control, such as eradicating termites and blocking cracks or holes that allow egress.

  • Landscaping such as trimming overgrown trees and regrading a lawn, especially if your lawn has drainage issues.

As for any kind of major remodeling project such as a kitchen renovation or bathroom overhaul? Best to hire a general contractor who can oversee a team of plumbers, electricians, painters, window hangers, and other specialty tradesmen.

Got a handyman or DIY know-how? Take on these cosmetic repairs with ease

Most of the time, a skilled homeowner or handyman is able to:

  • Patch holes from picture hardware in drywall

  • Paint baseboards and interior trim

  • Paint interior walls

  • Touch up paint on the inside or outside (single-story house)

  • Clean out the gunk in the garbage disposal

  • Fertilize and seed the lawn

  • Rake and weed the yard

Before you hire a contractor or subcontractor, think hard about what you can handle yourself. Then be sure to check references and referrals for professionals with friends, neighbors, coworkers, online databases such as CostOwl.com or Thumbtack.com, and state regulatory agencies.

More important over the long haul is getting the job done right the first time.

It’s more expensive for the seller if they had somebody do it incorrectly or incompletely, and then they have to hire someone else to come back and do it again and do it correctly.

That can be a big turn-off for buyers—if too much of the work is done by an amateur, and it’s not up to good standards.

But if you don't have the money to pay the contractor or time and skills needed to do it yourself and just want to sell your house as-is - you can request a no-obligation cash offer from Easy Outs Homes - a company that buys houses in any condition - by filling a quick form here.

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