Perspective Newsletter
Spring 2015
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Don't remodel yourself into trouble

In a recent national poll, 67% of homeowners said they've tackled a major home project themselves, with Millennials the most likely to let the sawdust fly. In that same poll, though, 52% said they've had to hire a pro to fix their DIY mistakes.

Call it the HGTV Effect.

We asked our claims experts for examples of when homeowners should pick up their credit cards instead of their claw hammers. Here's what they said:

DIY Don'ts

Think twice about projects that involve the foundation, structure, or roof, or that include significant plumbing work. Ditto for anything that requires permitting and inspection. Examples include electrical wiring, changes to walls, rebuilding decks or porches, water heaters, or changes to the heating or cooling system.

You'll also want to be careful about projects that command artistic knack or major power tools. Good examples: wallpaper hanging and tile laying.

DIY Do's

Satisfy your DIY yearnings with maintenance rather than remodeling projects. For example, go ahead and replace crumbling grout in your kitchen tiles, rejuvenate a weathered deck, or tackle virtually anything that involves caulking.

And if in doubt, start small. Before you commit to painting the entire house, try painting a bedroom first. That will give you an idea whether the money you'd save would really be worth the effort.

Tips for hiring a contractor
  • Get referrals from family and friends.
  • Check resources like Angie's List or Home Advisor.
  • Get written bids from several contractors and check references.
  • Verify that the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured (click for Washington or Oregon).
  • Beware of contractors who have been in business a short time. Shady operators tend to fold, then resurface under a new name.
  • Never pay in full until the job is finished.

Learn more about hiring contractors.