When it’s worth paying a pro for house work

The hefty price tag associated with maintenance is one reason homeowners often choose the “DIY” option.

Homeowners spent an average of $6,649 on home improvements in the last 12 months, a recent survey from contract site HomeAdvisor found.

But experts say it can be worth paying for professional help on some projects — both for safety and so you can protect your investment.

You should, for example, hire an insured professional for any home project that requires a permit, especially if it involves making structural changes. While it may seem doable to take a sledgehammer to a wall and create that open-concept kitchen, an engineer or contractor will be able to make an assessment as to whether it is a load-bearing wall that, if knocked down, could bring down the floor above it, too.

If the project you are working on is potentially dangerous or requires a high level of technical acumen, such as major electrical work or plumbing, a licensed professional who has experience working on these tasks is your best bet.

Simple tasks like painting a wall or hanging a photo are ones that experts say are okay to tackle yourself–after researching the best way to do it, of course.

“A small thing that you can learn online really quickly, you can maybe do that yourself. Do not do something major if it could do damage to your house, if you’re trying to sell your home,” Moneyish Deputy Editor Catey Hill told CBSN.

But paying for a service like housekeeping may also be worth it, especially if it frees up your time for a more lucrative endeavor. One way to calculate the ROI of hiring a housekeeper is to look at the amount you could be earning versus the amount you would be paying to have the work done

Let’s say you’re offered a gig for a few months to sock away some extra cash on a consulting project  It would mean working in your office for 5 hours on Saturdays — but the pay is an appealing $40 an hour after taxes.

Losing the time at home, you’d need to pay a cleaner to handle your housekeeping at, say, $20 an hour for three hours, or a total of $60 for the week. And factor in the cost of transit and food ($10) and perhaps someone to walk your dog that day ($20)

In this case, your work nets you an extra $110 per week after paying down the costs you incurred

Having a budget and understanding your everyday expenses will allow you to calculate whether paying for a task is “worth it.” 

And if you are thinking of purchasing a home, housing counselors typically recommend budgeting one to three percent of a home’s total cost annually for upkeep. So if you purchase a $300,000 home, plan to spend $3,000 per year keeping it in shape. 

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