Should You DIY Your NYC Renovation or Hire a Contractor?

There are a lot of talented “Do-It-Yourselfers” and you may be one of them. A lot of work goes into a basic home remodeling project. Just managing the project can be a big job, but remember you don’t have to go it alone. At MyHome, design and remodeling is what we do every day.

In this article, you’ll see the list of 7 questions you can answer to help you decide if your renovation is a DIY project or if its best to hire a contractor. Plus, we share examples for each renovation style to inspire your remodel.

Should You DIY Your NYC Renovation or Hire a Contractor?

DIY Renovation or Hire a Contractor?

1. Who will design the project?

Do It Yourself:

You may have ideas of what you how you would like things to look, but translating those concepts onto paper is a unique skill. Unless you have formal design training, you’ll likely end of spending lots of time piecing together your design. This delays getting the actual work done and can leave you feeling like you’re in limbo with the project. You can invest in various different software packages for your PC or Mac, but you’ll have to learn it well enough to prepare working drawings. Most likely, you’ll hire a designer or architect to create the design plans. This process will require interviewing and due diligence on your part.

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

Your project requires precise measurements and drawings to scale in order to accurately specify the materials needed and properly construct it. Typically, design/build firms have trained designers on staff that will determine whether plans for your project can be crafted by an in-house designer or require architectural drawings. Many companies have architects on staff or close affiliations with these professionals, so finding one for the project with the proper credentials isn’t a problem.

DIY Renovation or Hire a Contractor?

 

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2. What materials will be used and are they the right ones?

Do it Yourself:

There are numerous stores and specialty showrooms where you can purchase the materials you want and need for your remodeling project. You can go to the major chain home stores, tile showrooms, appliance stores, etc. And, of course, there’s always the Internet.

Keep track of each item you select to make sure it coordinates from a design perspective and will also fit with your design. When choosing materials we recommend following these three steps…

  1. Create a list of everything you need.
  2. Decide what basic styles you like, e.g., traditional vs. contemporary
  3. Start shopping to see all those choices.

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

After your project is properly designed, you’ll need to choose the many products for it. And this can range from dozens to hundreds – yes hundreds – depending on the scope of the project. Remember, that with each product also come choices of color, type of material, style, size, etc. Working with a design/build firm generally provides you with one of two opportunities. Either you will have a designer who will take you to many stores and showrooms to help you make your selections, providing guidance along the way, or if you hire a firm that has a showroom, most if not all of the selections can be made in one place.

5 Tips to Start Planning Your NYC Kitchen Renovation

 

5 Tips to Start Planning Your NYC Kitchen Renovation

3. When to order the materials so they come in on time and who will accept delivery at your building?

Do it Yourself:

Purchasing can be cumbersome. And, keeping track of what’s in, or out of, stock and following lead times requires a lot of attention to detail and dedication on your part. Undoubtedly, many products will have to be ordered. The stores will place some orders for you; others, especially online purchases, you’ll need to order on your own. Some of your selections will be point of sale purchases; meaning you will walk out of the store with them the day you purchase them. This means you’ll need to find the space to store the items until they are needed.

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

With your materials list prepared, the remodeling company will find out lead times and order the products. Their diligence means you can be advised if something is out of stock or has an inordinately long delivery time before it causes any issues or delays. If they have a purchasing department, they will track when these orders are supposed to be received.

It’s smart to work with a remodeling company that has a showroom, warehouse or storage facilities, so your materials can be delivered to the company and brought to the project site when they are needed. The added bonus here is that the company will be responsible for accepting deliveries and processing any returns due to damages, missing parts or improper shipments.

MyHome Showroom

 

5 Tips to Start Planning Your NYC Kitchen Renovation

4. Who will keep all the paperwork in order?

Do it Yourself:

Whether you live in a privately owned house, a co-op apartment or a condo, there will likely be some level of paperwork required for your home improvement project. You may have to obtain various permits and/or submit plans to a board of directors.

Research is the first step here. You’ll need to contact your city or town building department and decipher the legalese in their codes. If you own a co-op or condo, you will also need to get information from your building manager to determine your building’s requirements. Then, you’ll need to fill out forms, draft responses to questions, coordinate all of the requisite licenses, insurance documents, etc. and submit plans in order to get approval for your project.

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

When doing a renovation project in New York City, one of the most common obstacles that catch owners off guard are the various approvals and the time needed before a project can start. With the exception of private houses and some small brownstone buildings, the first step is to get the renovation project reviewed and approved by the buildings owners association. A good design/build firm will have personnel trained in this area to know what you need and how to take care of it. They will also be able to assist you in getting the documents you need to get your project built.

MyHome Showroom

MyHome Showroom

5. Who will do the construction? How much supervision is required on my part?

Do it Yourself:

Is it your plan to do the major remodeling with your own two hands? Most people won’t. So, presuming that you’re not the ultimate “do-it-yourselfer, ” you have a major choice to make regarding construction…

You can hire a general contractor (GC) that will do the construction and hire all the other tradespeople, probably from lists of subcontractors they use. The benefit here is that the GC will typically supervise the construction. Or, you can hire the various different tradespeople yourself, manage them all, direct them, and keep track of their payments.

Either way, expect to do a lot of due diligence when hiring the people that will be working in your home. You’ve heard the horror stories and have seen the exposés on TV, so be careful. Check all the licenses of the people you hire so you can see how long they’ve been in business under the company name they gave you. Contractors tend to go out of business and reopen under a new name and license number if too many complaints get lodged against them under a given license.

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

The whole premise behind working with the one-stop-shop approach is that the same company that designs the project builds it as well. Everyone is working in concert right from the beginning of the process. When the teams have the opportunity to collaborate (and they should be before ground is broken), it reduces confusion. Also, the design and remodeling company is responsible for making sure all the necessary tradespeople, such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. properly perform their jobs. Additionally, the firm is responsible for keeping track of costs and paying the people working on the job.

George Horinek

MyHome Showroom

6. How many projects are you currently are working on?

Do it Yourself:

Failing to complete a job is by far the biggest complaint homeowners have against contractors. Getting them to come back to “touch-up” or repair the job after it is paid for in full is nearly impossible. Depending upon whether you hired a GC or all of the tradespeople yourself, you’ll have an even bigger challenge getting your punch list done if you have to locate several people. And, rest assured, one tradesperson will most definitely blame another and deny responsibility for a repair that needs to be made. Most contractors don’t guarantee their work. If they do, make sure they’ve been in business long enough to convince you that they will be there for you in the future.

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

After every remodeling project, there are touch-ups that need to be made, whether it’s a scratch to be repaired, painting to be cleaned up, a broken handle, or what have you. It’s not unusual to have a punch list several items long. Also, despite the best intentions and hardest work of quality tradespeople, mistakes are made and things do break. If you work with a reputable remodeling company, having the touch-ups done in a timely manner isn’t a problem.

A good firm will warranty their work – the better ones up to five years – and make repairs if problems occur within the warranty period. The reason is most design/build firms are longer lasting and not fly-by-night operations and tend to take more pride in the final outcome of their projects. At MyHome, we offer a 5-year labor warranty.

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We know all the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. Our goal is to take what can be a stressful process and make it as hassle-free as possible. If you choose to partner with MyHome for your upcoming renovation, you can take full advantage of our process which breaks down remodeling into various components. We are here for any individual part of your renovation or the whole project. 

We hope you found this bit of information helpful, inspiring, and motivating toward renovating your kitchen.

 

 

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