With the impending arrival of winter, now is a great time to review your essential home maintenance checklist. This list potentially includes protecting vulnerable pipes from freezing temperatures, sealing up drafty windows and doors, and making sure your heating system is ready for another season of hard work.  

It can also be an excellent time to get a jump start on spring home improvement projects. Taking advantage of the slower season for service providers can make it easier for you to get multiple estimates and put you at the front of the line on their schedules. More importantly, it gives you plenty of time to decide if tackling a repair or upgrade yourself is a route worth exploring.


Deciding between a cost-friendly, do-it-yourself approach or leaving the job to professionals is something all homeowners should consider. In most cases, the priority should be on your safety. 

Projects requiring extensive electrical work are likely to benefit from a licensed electrician. While you can probably safely install a dimmer switch or security light with access to instructions and by adhering to appropriate safeguards, be sure to consider the risks nonetheless. Upgrades that require modifications to your electrical panel, for example, or installing additional wiring within your home demand a professional’s experience—not only can mistakes lead to electrocution, but faulty wiring can increase the chances of a fire that severely damages your home, or worse. 

Similarly, working with gas appliances, attempting roof repairs and removing large trees from your property can be dangerous. Always put your safety before any potential savings when it comes to home repair and maintenance. 

Time and Tools

Once your personal protection is assured, the choice to hire a professional should take into account more than money. Consider how long it will take to prepare for and finish the job, and be sure to account for the unexpected. Many times, the expense of an experienced contractor or company comes with the comfort of knowing the job will be done quickly and meet your expectations. 

Projects like sheetrock repair, molding installation and repainting kitchen cabinets can require special skills or preparation to complete successfully. Tasks such as adding an in-ground sprinkler system or replacing tile or flooring often require special tools that most homeowners will need to rent or buy. Make sure you understand what the job requires and whether you are giving your time the value it deserves before declining to bring in a pro. 

Look Ahead

It’s also important to keep an eye on the future when it comes to maintaining your home. Most homeowners will eventually want to sell their property, which means it will be subject to close inspection. 

If a prospective buyer or their inspector spots amateur work or unpermitted improvements, it could drive the price down or derail the sale altogether. Before you take a chance on do-it-yourself, consider if the immediate savings might cost you more down the road. 

Keeping your home safe and performing at its best starts with a mortgage that meets your needs. Explore all of your lending options at OpenMortgage.com or call to speak with a representative today.

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