DIY vs Trades

A few weeks ago, I shared the spotlight on our local  mortgage lenders and the advantage to working with local professionals instead of ‘discount’ online lenders.  This week, I’ll shift gears and highlight our local trades.  Our local general and/or specialized contractors including plumbers, electricians, landscapers, roofers, etc.   Several weeks ago, I paid homage to the weekend warrior, do-it- yourselfer.  I have a lot of respect and admiration for those who have the knowledge, skill set, and the most valuable resource of all… time to tackle some everyday projects around the house.  Quarantine, YouTube, and HGTV have armed the ‘do-it-yourselfers’ with basic knowledge on the ‘HOW-TO’ to perform some basic household maintenance jobs.  However, a word of caution before you open a commercial Lowe’s account, quit your day job, and take your handyman skills on the road. First and foremost, I’ll echo your spouse and/or mother and remind you of the safety precautions.  Be sure to always unplug or turn off the breaker in the service panel before tackling any electrical work.  Safety on roofs, scaffolding, and ladders are a given. I’m embarrassed to even admit this, but I once paid someone to change a light bulb. Pause until laughter stops. The recessed light bulbs were in the highest corner of our roofline, measuring about 25 feet off the ground.  Not only did I not have a ladder that would safely reach, but truth be told, I respect… ok… I’m terrified of heights.  Money well spent. And there lies the reason there is a premium for contractors who work on roofs and decks.  The next reason to contract out certain jobs is to ensure that the project is performed  correctly and to code (if applicable). Overloaded circuit breakers  or failure to use the proper junction boxes may be problematic.  Improper plumbing jobs may lead to water leaks/damage. Slow continuous leaks may be a bigger issue than an obvious wash out.  A slow gradual leak may lead to wood rot or mold growth if not caught quickly and mitigated effectively.  Another contractor I’ll add to our local Rolodex is an arborist.  If you recognize a (large) tree that needs to be dropped, it may be enticing to watch a few YouTube videos, go to MPE and rent your chainsaw, cut your ‘wedge’ to determine where you want it to fall, cut the other side and yell ‘Timber’. I can tell you from watching said arborists work, they earn what they are paid.  Whether it be skillset, the insurance they must carry, or the liability of working a dangerous job, much respect to ‘tree guys’ everywhere.  My disclaimer for this article is NOT to contract out each and every household project.  If the job is in your wheelhouse and you are comfortable with the fact that you can complete it efficiently and safely, save the money and do it yourself.  But if you’re venturing into a project you’ve never done and unsure how to perform it correctly and safely, turn to a local professional trade instead of YouTube.

Until next week, love where you live.  And if you don’t, contact your local REALTOR®.

Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President