President's Column - The Eagle
Bryan/College Station Regional Association of Realtors
Brad Corrier 2009-2010 President
April 25, 2010
Do it yourself?..or maybe not!
Over the past several weeks I've written several columns about home repairs. There are many repair issues that home owners need to consider - from small regular maintenance items all the way up to major renovations. Some of these repairs are easy for most home owners to do while others require a great degree of skill. The question is when can you, or should you, 'do it yourself"?
The make ready repairs
Before putting your home on the market there are often a number of things that can be done to spruce it up. Improving the street appeal by weeding flowerbeds, pruning trees, and touching up the exterior paint can do wonders. These are things most home owners can successfully do themselves. Most do not require a great degree of skill - just a willingness to break a sweat.
As you move into your home the repairs can become a little trickier. Interior painting can often be a money saving ?do it yourself? project since much of the cost is related to the labor. However, a bad paint job is often worse than none at all! If you don't have the patience or skill to paint the seams between walls and ceilings maybe you should call a professional.
Replacing floor covering, whether its tile or wood laminate, is a common "do it yourself" project. Local hardware stores offer short courses on how to install flooring products designed for the homeowner. Many of these products can look great when installed correctly. However, just like painting, these projects require patience, some skill, and often an investment in some specialized tools. Nothing looks worse than a room of tile or wood laminate flooring that is uneven with expose seems or erratic grout lines. Unless you are confident you have the skill to do an excellent job it is best to hire a professional.
Fixing the Big Items
The most enticing repairs for a homeowner to make are often the most expensive ones. Saving hundreds of dollars by doing the repair yourself is very tempting. These include things like replacing rotted wood, such as damaged doors and windows, installing new kitchen appliances or updating the water heater. Unfortunately, these repairs are usually a lot more complicated than they look and often require specialized tools. Too often a homeowner will attempt to "repair" the damaged item only to make it worse. George Huebner, a local handyman, has often said "this repair could have been a lot cheaper and gone a lot quicker if the homeowner hand not "fixed" it!?"
Another thing to consider is the potential liability associated with faulty repairs. Many repairs, including plumbing and electrical items, legally require a licensed professional. If a home owner?s faulty repair results in injury or damage to the home after they sell it the new home owner may have legal recourse. Whenever a home repair can affect health and safety of the occupants serious consideration should be given to hiring a professional.
When completing negotiated repairs during the sale of your property extra care must be taken. The Texas Real Estate Commission promulgated contracts specifically address how repairs must be completed. Under paragraph 7.F of the residential contract repairs must be completed by "persons who are licensed or otherwise authorized by law to provide such repairs or treatments".
Many buyers are fine with the seller doing minor repairs and it is not uncommon for this to occur. However, it is wise for both parties to agree to these repairs in writing. Furthermore, repairs that have the potential to create a health or safety issue, if not completed correctly, should only be done by professionals.
Talk to an expert
Whether you are getting your home ready to put on the market, doing regular maintenance, or addressing contractual repairs there are many issues to consider when making repairs to your home. Sometimes the savings from a "do it yourself" project can result in a much larger cost when a professional has to come in to "fix" the repair. Other times the cost savings can be significant if you are willing to invest the time and a little money for the right tools.
Your local Realtor can help determine which projects you can do and which you should consider hiring a professional to complete. They can also help you get those contractual repairs done by qualified professionals so that you can focus on a smooth closing.
Brad Corrier is a Realtor, Broker, and holds a
BBA in Marketing, TAMU '92
Masters Degree in Land Economics and Real Estate, TAMU '94
Contact him at: 979-764-7653