Spend Money or Spend Time? How #Kitsap Homeowners and Homebuyers Decide

Spend TIme or Spend Money? How Kitsap Homeowners and Homebuyers Decide

Everyone gets into homeownership understanding that they will be personally responsible for the upkeep and improvement of the property - it marks a departure from the years of perhaps being a renter, or even college dorm dweller and living with family, when others shouldered that responsibility.

It's fair to say, though, that every single homeowner faces that moment when they think they might be in over their head with a home repair, or desired upgrade.  For homebuyers, it maybe comes a little sooner - they are facing a possible immediately needed repair in order to move in.  (Home sellers are sometimes in this boat, if inspection discovers something that the buyer's lender will require to be addressed before funds can be released for closing.)

Nearly every single bit of home maintainance comes down to an initial decision (once you've decided not to ignore it!) - spend your time, or spend your money?  In the case of the former, we're talking about DIY ventures.  In the latter - well, you know how that goes: get out your wallet.

So, what do you weigh exactly, when you make that decision?  Obstensibly, the first thing is simple skillset: can you manage the task at hand?  There's a scale here, from "change a lightbulb while standing on the ground" to "rewire the whole house" and "dig a fresh well."  You'll know where you land on that metric, but the exciting thing these days is how much more accessible DIY is to non-tradespeople, thanks to resources like YouTube tutorials, blogs, Pintrest, and so on. You really CAN do quite a bit more than you realized by simply watching a few tutorials.

But just because you can, doesn't mean you SHOULD.  (How many times in life does THAT aphorism hold true, right??)  You might not have the tools, you might not enjoy that sort of work - or (this is a clincher) you might not have the time to do the project in a satisfactory timeline.

Then there's the other side of the equation: can you afford to pay someone else to do it for you?  Pro tip:  if you're wavering, do yourself a favor and at least ask around, and get an estimate or two.  Homeowners who are not in the trades themselves, often have a skewed idea of what particular projects cost.  (Electrical work is often MUCH cheaper than you'd think, for example - but landscape work is probably a lot more than you think.) In addition to being able to pay for the work to be performed, remember that you'll be charged for materials, and might have to take time off work.

And neither option can be construed as entirely without some investment of the other: doing a project yourself inevitably involves some costs (and probably more time than you think) - and spending money on a pro will still involve time spent organizing and supervising, to different extents depending on the project.

So how do you weigh the decision? Obviously, everyone's circumstances, resources and pressing need to complete the project at hand differ so there's no one pat answer.  If you're pinching pennies, there can't be a lot of wiggle room - fire up the Tubes of You, and start learning how to tile (or whatever.)  If you are working 80 hour weeks, put the plumber on speed dial and program an access code into the smart doorlock and don't look back.

Beyond those extremes, lies the gray area.  If you're on the fence, we suggest what we notice as a growing trend: maybe consider giving it a shot yourself!  There's been a real uptick in people trying their own hands at home maintainance lately, with impressive results. We encourage this, because it's one of the best ways to really get to know your property and gain confidence as a homeowner.

DIY skills - like anything else - tend to be cumulative.  People who worry about handling gutters in the fall, eventually find themselves building a woodbox and installing gardens without a second thought . . . but only if you wade in and roll up your sleeves.

If you decide to get a contractor, we suggest you give our Recommended Contractor list a look as a starting place (and please let us know if you know someone who should be on it.)  It's something we do to try and support our clients.  If we can offer you any additional help with your real estate transactions, please give us a ring at Dupuis Team today!

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