Home Repairs: Should You DIY or Call a Professional?


Whether you’re a new homeowner or have been one for 20 years, chances are you will find yourself needing to fix something with your home every now and then. From a loose cabinet door or a leaky faucet to replacing worn carpet, every homeowner asks themselves: should I attempt to repair this myself or hire a professional?

With expected annual home maintenance costs around 1% to 4% of your home’s purchase price—not to mention another 1% to 3% for a home repair emergency fund—saving money on certain home repairs is not only practical, but necessary. However, ask yourself these questions as you consider whether you should take on the project yourself or seek a home repair professional.

Do You Have the Essential Tools?

Most homeowners have a wrench or screwdriver in their toolbox, so repairs such as a leaky bathroom showerhead or a running toilet shouldn’t be too much of a problem (especially with a YouTube video on hand). Even fixing a few nail pops or patching up drywall shouldn’t require any specialized tools.

However, what if you need to replace carpet? Do you have an adjustable floor knee kicker laying around? If you have an outlet that suddenly stops sending electricity to your toaster, do you have a receptacle tester or a multimeter handy?

Ensuring that you have the proper tools to complete the home repair well is crucial in determining if you should attempt to fix the issue yourself or not.

Do You Have the Time?

Let’s say you have the necessary tools to take on the home repair yourself. How long will it take you to properly fix the problem?

For example, imagine that you have a sliding window that gets stuck when trying to close and you have the tools to repair it, such as a putty knife, a pry bar, a hammer, and a belt sander. If you haven’t done this before, it’s more than likely that you will need to find and watch a video or two on how to remove the window without damage. And then you will need to troubleshoot, repair it, reinstall, and hopefully resolve the issue.

Most DIY repairs take more time than expected, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Are you able to dedicate the time that’s required to complete the project, allowing for some buffer time as you learn what to do? And this isn’t even considering that the average homeowner waits more than 10 months to make a critical repair on the home.

Will the Repair Look Neat or Be Correct?

It is one thing to replace a broken doorknob and another to replace a French door leading into a den. While you might not notice that a doorknob turns downward a little too much, you will notice if a newly installed French door is not quite level or doesn’t close flush against the door jambs.

When considering the home repair project, it’s important to remember the final aesthetic and functionality, as well as long-term aspects like your home’s resale value.

While you may pay more upfront by hiring a professional, you might also save time by getting it completed correctly the first time.

Can You Work on the Repair Safely?

For certain fix-it-up projects, unless you’re a professional electrician, it is safer to leave some repairs to qualified individuals.

As an example, if you have a circuit breaker that is inoperable from age, we recommend hiring a professional to minimize the chances of an accident to yourself or your home. While everyone desires to save money and have pride in a job well done, keeping you and your loved ones safe is a higher priority.

Consider a Home Warranty

If you’re concerned about unexpected and expensive breakdowns of major appliances, a home warranty may be right for you. Coverage can vary based on the plan and options you choose, but generally, a home warranty covers major systems in your home, like HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. It includes appliances vital to your home, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and ovens. The repair or replacement will be covered when an eligible failure occurs, even due to normal wear and tear.

Homeowners insurance and a home warranty work together to protect your home. At Westwood, we can help you find a warranty provider and great options for your insurance. Talk to Westwood today.

Please Note: This article is for general informational and educational purposes only. It does not represent any specific insurance policy and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions of any current policy.