D.I.Y. home renovations seem to be all the rage today, and the numbers don't lie. The 2019 Remodeling Impact Report: D.I.Y. by the National Association of Realtors found that 47% of consumers completed a home renovation project themselves! Some of the most popular being closet renovations, finishing basements, and hardwood floor refinishing. While it can be a rewarding experience to do it yourself, the question remains: just because you can do it yourself, should you? If you're considering taking on a project yourself, consider some of the following benefits of hiring a licensed contractor instead.
Equipped to deal with the unexpected – You might feel empowered to sledgehammer your way through a bathroom wall, but are you prepared for the potential disaster that lurks behind it? Take it from some of these D.I.Y. disasters from This Old House - home renovations come with plenty of surprises. A licensed contractor is equipped to handle even the most extreme setback and knows who to contact in case it is out of their hands. And to point out the obvious, it's always much safer to hire a licensed contractor.
Fines and Fees – You may think you're avoiding fees by taking the D.I.Y route or hiring an unlicensed contractor. The reality is that, though contractor licensing requirements vary by state, fines for unlicensed contractors are not worth the money you saved by hiring them.
Homeowners may not realize that they are liable if their unlicensed contractor makes a mistake. It's always best to think of the worst-case scenario that could occur during a home renovation. Imagine you're doing a full bathroom renovation and you or your unlicensed contractor somehow damage a sewer line. You will not only receive fines for renovating without a permit, but you as the homeowner will be responsible for the cost. This is another case where the money you are saving from D.I.Y. is miniscule compared to the cost of when it goes wrong. On the other hand, if a licensed contractor makes a mistake it can still be costly, but the blame ultimately falls upon them. Licensed contractors rely on their reputation and skills to keep their business so they are motivated to put out quality work while following the laws.
Working with a licensed contractor ultimately benefits the homeowners.
Renovation redo – It may feel unnecessary to obtain a permit for an interior renovation project that's not visible from the street. Even if your D.I.Y. renovation is concealed, it most likely needs a permit as HomeAdvisor reports. No matter the state, licenses and permits are usually required for everything from residential and commercial contracting, plumbing, electrical, and anything dealing with gas or hazardous waste. If your project is discovered by the state, not only are you responsible for the aforementioned fees but you will most likely have to redo your remodel anyway.
Small projects that don't require a permit might be the perfect opportunity for a handy homeowner to flex their remodeling skills, but anything larger a licensed contractor should be hired. Homeowners may believe they are equipped to handle home renovations on their own or cut corners by hiring an unlicensed contractor, but as you can see if things go wrong, which they often do, it's not worth the money saved.
A licensed contractor should be able to articulate how their skills and licenses are beneficial to homeowners who may be hesitant to add their services into their budget. Along with other things that people look for in a contractor, always make sure homeowners understand how a licensed contractor's expertise is worthwhile in both the short- and long-term.