When It Pays to Call in the Pros

SEATTLE ( Zillow) -- We're in a DIY age where real estate TV shows, magazines, even television channels are dedicated to do-it-yourself home improvement. While tackling home projects on your own can save money, it can also end up costing you more if your lack of experience ends up creating damage that wasn't there in the first place.

Before you grab a wrench and don your old jeans, consider your experience, your time and whether calling the pros could be worth it in the long run.
There are some home improvement projects, many involving plumbing, you should not attempt alone.

Here's a few times calling a professional is a better idea than taking care of a project yourself:

There's a steep learning curve here. While it's relatively easy to replace a faucet, or even tighten a pipe below the sink, once you get beyond that it's highly recommended you call in someone who knows what they're doing.

Call a plumber if:
  • You are unable to unclog a drain or toilet after several attempts. This could be a serious blockage in the sewer or main line.
  • You have a problem with the gas line, water pump or water heater. All three are very sensitive and possibly dangerous if handled the wrong way.
  • You have busted, cracked or damaged pipes.

Few homeowners feel comfortable doing anything beyond installing a light fixture. Handling electrical lines are obviously dangerous, so call an electrician if:
  • Lights are dimming, which could mean a problem with voltage.
  • You need any rewiring done or would like to install an outlet.
  • There is anything you feel uncomfortable doing. This is a safety issue more than anything else.

Sure homeowners tear down walls themselves on HGTV, but television doesn't always mirror reality. If you're considering a remodel or drastic change to your home, it may not be worth it to try it on your own, especially if you have little experience. Your attempt could end up being unsafe or unsightly, which can drag down your home value.

Ultimately whether you call in a pro or deal with it on your own is up to you. But if you feel nervous about a project or don't think you have time to complete it, save yourself the hassle and bring in the pros. Not sure who to call? Check out Zillow's professional directory.

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