Home Improvement Projects: It’s Not Just About Being Handy

When it comes to home improvements, Harvard University Credit Union has the best financing options. But should you do projects yourself or hire a pro?

Consider these factors:

Time. “For most people, the only time they have is on weekends,” says Ed Bourke, owner of Bourke Construction, Anaheim, Calif. “For projects such as a kitchen remodel, that limited amount of time can have a homeowner spending months to complete a task that a contractor should finish in weeks.”

Materials. Who will measure, order, and inspect on arrival? Do you have a vehicle suitable to pick up forgotten materials and to dump trash?

Tools. Certain jobs need certain tools. Will you have to buy or rent them? Michael Hydeck, Telford, Pa., president-elect of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Des Plaines, Ill., says rental shops may show you how to operate the tools but they don’t provide information about how to do the job.

Skills. “Home remodeling is not a skill that you can learn off a Web page. It’s a very hands-on skill set,” says Bourke. Hydeck suggests talking to a pro by paying for a few hours of time to pick his or her brain.

Safety. Doing projects at extreme heights, using tools you aren’t comfortable with, creating dust, and introducing toxic fumes with new materials can be concerns.

Liabilities. If you hire casual labor, there could be tax liabilities. If a worker gets hurt, you may get sued. If a worker causes a fire or major damage, it may invalidate your homeowner policy.

Savings. Do the math. Factor in the cost of your time.

Resale. “Most buyers today are getting home inspections and putting houses under the microscope,” says Greg Herb, regional vice president with the National Association of Realtors®, Chicago, and owner of Herb Real Estate, near Philadelphia.

Whatever route you decide to take, come to HUECU for your best home-improvement financing options. For more information, stop by any of our branch locations, email us or call us at (617) 495-4460.


Return Home