Expert Help Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

 
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Don’t ask someone else to live with your poor craftsmanship. Do the right thing and have the work done right.

You may think you can do all the rehab work yourself after watching every season of your favorite home improvement show. You may think that you need to do the rehab work yourself to save money. Don’t be fooled! By not using the necessary experts you may be costing yourself money and time in the long run and leaving your project to look low-quality.

 

Here are a few specific places I used professionals. In the end, by hiring their services I saved time and money on the renovation project. And most importantly, their work turned out 100 times better than if I had done it!

  1. Kitchen layout: My agent recommended I use an interior designer for help with the kitchen layout. I wanted to maximize storage and countertop space while adding a dishwasher in a snug 60 square foot space. I didn’t have the confidence that I could figure it out on my own. I also didn’t have the time or money to mess it up. The designer delivered professional drawings based on cabinet sizes from a local supplier. These drawings not only helped me finish my planning, but they were so valuable when ordering cabinets, selecting appliances, and communicating with my contractor. If we had relied on my own best guess and hand-drawn sketches, I hate to think how many issues we would have had. She charged me by the hour and it only cost a few hundred dollars. Money very well spent.

  2. Color consultation: I have painted every kind of room you can think of across a spectrum of colors. I had a good idea of what colors I wanted in the rehab, but with so many shades available, I didn’t want to make the mistake of choosing the wrong one. Painting is labor intensive so the last thing I wanted was to finish the painting and then realize I chose the wrong color. I used Sherwin-Williams in-home consult to give me confidence in my selection. SW charges $95 to schedule the appointment but you receive at $50 gift card in return. So the net cost of the consult is roughly the cost of a gallon of paint. The appointment lasted about 90 minutes and we spent time going through each room and the exterior. The consultant had a traveling box of every color and shade imaginable complemented with a deep knowledge of warms and cools and undertones. She also suggested sheen finishes for each use to make the project look its best. It made ordering so easy and I didn’t have to worry about regretting my choices later.

  3. Finish carpentry: You have spent money on the layout and the cabinets, don’t get cheap with the installation. A quality finish carpenter can make your stock cabinets look custom. They also have all the right tools to do a quality job. Poor craftsmanship is easy to spot especially in a room as heavily used as a kitchen. My cabinets came unassembled in a box, but you could never tell when looking at the finished project. They are perfectly level, kick plates expertly scribed, and the crown molding makes them look custom. I would be kidding myself if I thought I could have done it on my own. You can’t hide mistakes when hanging cabinets. Your eye will immediately alert you that something is off. So why get cheap on the final steps when you could hire a professional and make it a featured part of your renovation?

Key Take-Aways:

  1. A small investment in professional services will pay itself back. You will avoid  miscommunications, poor planning, and wrong materials. You will also feel like a seasoned pro when you walk into a showroom with professional drawings in your folio. Working full time and investing in real estate means I don’t have time for mistakes. Investing in professional planning and installation services gives me the confidence that the job will be done right the first time.

  2. A second opinion is a quick step that will save you time and money in the end. Yes you probably can pick out the right paint color, but you could also get it really wrong. The number of properties I have seen with unfortunate color choices is plentiful. Ugly paint isn’t any cheaper to buy and isn’t easier to apply. Get help and do it right the first time. Needing to repaint a room because you picked the wrong color is time and money wasted. You have better things to do!

  3. Know the limits of your abilities and call in the pros when your mistakes will be obvious. Leave first-time flipping to the home improvement shows or to your own house (where you have to live with your mistakes!). Don’t test your skills when you are trying to sell a product and make money. Also don’t ask someone else to live with your poor craftsmanship. Do the right thing and have the work done right. It will pay itself back through a unit that is easy to rent or quick to sell.

Carissa Swanwick