It is National Home Remodeling month and NAHB wants to emphasize the benefits of hiring a professional remodeler. There are two aspects to this: 1) hiring a contractor rather than attempting a project yourself, 2) hiring a contractor who is a well-qualified professional remodeler, such as members of NAHB Remodelers or those who have earned one of NAHB’s Professional Designations.
According to 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS) tables from HUD and the Census Bureau, over 60 percent of home owners hire contractors for home improvement activities overall, but the share varies depending on the activity. At the top of the list among activities undertaken by at least 1 million homeowners a year, 87 percent of owners hire contractors for HVAC jobs, followed by roofing jobs at 82 percent. On a dollar basis, the shares would be significantly higher, as owners tend to hire contractors for larger projects (see previous post).
A leading reason NAHB recommends home owners be careful about attempting projects on their own are safety, as lack of familiarity with tools and techniques can lead to serious accidents. Working on a roof is often cited as an activity with the potential for serious injury. Another reason is cost, as home owners may forget to factor in the cost of tools. Many remodeling projects require specialized tools, which a home owner will purchase and only use once or twice. Cost of a project, of course, can also escalate if it is done incorrectly the first time and therefore has to be re-done.
An advantage of a well qualified professional remodeler is experience with the appropriate tools and specialized knowledge needed to perform correctly. HVAC work is an example of something that can’t be done by everyone and requires specialized knowledge, for example to size a unit correctly for a particular home. A follow-up post next week will cover what homeowners look for in a remodeler and what they think of remodelers with professional designations.