Home Improvement Projects: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

 February 3, 2014

As a real estate professional, handling difficult tasks is part of your job. One of these tasks is advising your clients on whether to do their home improvements themselves or to hire professionals. DIY projects are inexpensive and help homeowners to save money and gain confidence. However, there are some home improvements that require expert skills.

Before embarking on a remodel ensure your client understands what is involved

Some simple questions you can ask your clients before they undertake a DIY project are:

  1. Do they have the necessary skills?
  2. Can they finish the project in a reasonable amount of time?
  3. Can they hire a professional to undertake the project at a lesser cost?
  4. Will the project look beautiful when it is finished?

These questions can help your clients to make the right decision. They can choose the right DIY jobs and leave the rest to professionals. Here is a breakdown of home improvement projects that require DIY and those that need expert skills.

DIY Home Improvements that your Client can Handle


Minor painting jobs can be done easily by homeowners. All that is required is a stepladder and a firm hand. However, painting is a time-consuming process that needs patience. If your clients want their walls to look flawless, they must be skilled. You can tell them to prepare themselves beforehand by watching a few tutorials.


Home exteriors can be difficult to maintain. Lawns need to be mowed regularly, flowers trimmed, and trees maintained. Such things make the space beautiful and inviting. During winter, homeowners must plow, shovel, and maintain their exteriors to make them safe and welcoming. Landscaping is perfect for those who like to get dirty. It is one of the best DIY home improvement projects.

Adding color to any room in the home is a great DIY project

Replacing Hardware

Most homeowners can easily replace cabinetry and door hardware using a screwdriver. Updating the kitchen cabinets can give the room added beauty. For the best look, homeowners should choose handles and pulls with the same design as their old hardware.

Home Improvements should be left for Professionals

Major Structural Changes

Headers, footers, and beams are mostly hidden in a home’s structure and vital to its lasting durability. Homeowners must not take chances with the structural components. They must hire engineers or contractors to avoid potentially dangerous situations. These professionals know the structural elements of a home and liaise with the city building inspector.

Plumbing and Electrical Work

Many homeowners’ insurance policies require homeowners to hire licensed electricians, get permits, and have inspections done for any electrical work. Plumbing projects can also be disastrous when handled by amateurs.  While some minor plumbing and electrical projects can be carried out with minimal expertise, bigger ones are best left to licensed professionals.


Some homeowners have the skills to perform roofing projects properly. However, they may not be fast enough to complete the work in a short period of time. Leaking roofs can expose homes to damage from snow, rain, and other harsh weather conditions. Even professionals have been known to underestimate the timespan of their roofing projects, so homeowners are cautioned from doing this.

Adding bathroom tile or changing faucets are great DIY ideas



While installing tile is not very hard, it is the corners and edges that require the most work. Inexperienced homeowners who decide to undertake tiling projects may be filled with regret when they see their end product. Good tile installation is best left to a professional. Tile comes in various forms and is installed differently. When installed correctly, it looks good and provides lasting beauty.

As a Realtor, it is very important to help your clients differentiate between DIY projects and projects for professionals. This will help them to augment their home’s appeal and increase its value if they ever wish to sell.

Come join us on Facebook for more tips and ideas for your Real Estate business.

Ronique Gibson

By Ronique Gibson

Ronique Gibson is an Associate Architect and a LEED Accredited Professional, who has been in the design industry for over 13 years. She started her design blog in 2009 and today it has become a premier destination for helping homeowners with everyday lifestyle challenges. Her readers check in daily for help with their homes, DIY project ideas, recipes, crafts, and inspiration to beautify and enjoy their homes.