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I have several home improvements jobs I would like to start planning for around the house (some more urgent repairs and some "nice to have" improvements). I would not, under any circumstances, believe I could do all the work myself; I would have to hire a plumber, electrician, roofer, etc., but some of the work I could do myself, such as flooring, painting, etc. The jobs are not all related, but would be better categorized as several odd jobs. However, I have about 6 repairs/improvements for a plumber, 4-5 repairs for an electrician, some that require electrical, plumbing and dry-wall, another that involves heat and air, insulation and ceiling repair, replacing French doors with a bay window, or some other option, etc.

My question is, could I expect to save a lot of money by hiring individuals for each job - one job at a time? I don't want to sacrifice quality for cost, and only a couple (roofing and pipe insulation) are needed sooner rather than later. I feel like it would be MUCH easier if I could find a fix-it person who could help me lay out a plan, determine a budget, then systematically work with me (so I did some of the work) to get all the improvements completed in phases (because I can't pay for it all at once as one big job). There are risks and benefits in both approaches, but I wanted to get you folks who are experienced in repairs and improvements to help me determine which way I should go. Besides the technical skills required, I really need help with the planning portion - what to do first - and anticipating the costs.

Any advice and/or suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks!

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1,994 Posts
I would start by deciding between wants and needs.
You WANT more insulation in the attic
You NEED to fix the roof leak
You WANT a bay window
you NEED a working furnace (assuming it gets cold where you are.

Then prioritize the needs.
A leaky roof is a bigger priority than a dripping faucet
A burst plumbing pipe is a bigger priority than a leaky roof.

then during the process think about what you know you can do, and what you think you might be able to do. You Tube can be your friend. Whatever you need done in the house there are numerous videos. Watch a few and decide "I think I can do that" or "no way I'm trying that".

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37,499 Posts
Feel your pain.
Going to be hard to find someone you can even trust and be honest.
Hard to even make a suggestion.
No one here has a clue where you are because there's no location in your profile which makes it even harder to suggest someone local we trust.
I made my living looking at the long dollar not the short dollar for at least 43 years by being honest and trying to look at what needed to be done from the customers side of view.
Have to agree 100% with Craig, if the roof or foundation is bad the rest of the house is poop.
Once that's a addressed the rest of the house and be addressed.
Way to many people worry about the fo fo stuff.
I drive up in a driveway to look at a house and first things I look at is the roof and siding and start running numbers in my head.
Cast iron drains, old steel pipes for plumbing, undersized electrical panels, no grounds all that money to replace is deducted from the selling price.

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5,850 Posts
I would start by going to your local book store or library.

Places like Home Depot and Lowes have ( on site ) little How-To's set up to demonstrate how things are done. This gives you a chance to see it being done and ask questions.

They have How-to-videos on their site and youtube.

They also sell How-to-books.

Why all the redirection.?????????

I don't think your willing to write us a book about you and your situation and include pictures.?

If we write you a How-to-book you may only need about 5-10% of the information. Care to let us know what that 5-10% is so we can cut through the chase.?

Let's try one thing at a time with all the info and a few pictures.??

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138 Posts
Our OBX home got hit in by Hurricane Irene. Our damage was a fender bender compared to others. The flood insurance was an experience and only by doing the stuff myself were we able to keep whole. One funny was demolition. We were compensated twenty-three cents per square foot of drywall demolition, which totaled about twenty five bucks. No-one will do any job for that.

That said, contractors must capture the travel time and job conflicts with their costs. So by creating the biggest job, you will minimize those fixed costs and attract more interest.

I see pipe insulation. What pipes? Are they in a non-conditioned space? If plumbing and not subject to freezing, I wouldn't bother. The water will get cold upon turning off the faucet insulation or not. If for heating, where will the heat loss go? If it contributes to heating the house, again I wouldn't bother. The rest is definitely DIY. You will spend more time babysitting a contractor than researching how to, buying and installing.

If you don't feel comfortable with planning and the jobs are beyond you, I suggest you interview general contractors and let them run the electrical, plumbing, hvac, etc. subcontractors. If you do the planning and the electrician has an excuse to prevent him from running a single wire due to sequencing, you will pay for his next visit, and the next, and the next. General contractors must get all their work and the work of subcontractors done at a fixed cost before they and their subs get paid.
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