Why You Should Always Hire an Expert

Ecce Homo - Nicknamed "Ecce Mono" after botched restoration attempt. Photo from The Independent.

Ecce Homo – Nicknamed “Ecce Mono” after botched restoration attempt. Photo from The Independent.

We learned that lesson during one excruciating summer. It was back in the days when we owned rental houses. We were gung ho about our real estate investments which would eventually turn into our retirement fund. We were right around 30 years old and had done plenty of DIY projects around our home, so we knew we were capable of maintaining our rentals, thereby saving on expenses.

At the time, we were both teachers, so we had our summers off together. We’d just purchased a rental home and were eager to maximize bedroom space. We decided to take the garage they’d enclosed and turned into a large extra living room with two separate entries, and make it into two bedrooms. No problem, we thought. Just put up two walls half-way across the room and create a closet between the two new bedrooms. Piece of cake! And while we’re at it, we’ll give all of the interior walls a fresh coat of paint and put down new linoleum tile floors. We were going to make a family very happy with a spruced up place.

We stumbled into one problem after another. We didn’t have the right tools. We didn’t make the right cuts. We were slow since we didn’t work construction regularly and weren’t quite sure what we were doing. In short, we used up our entire eight weeks of summer vacation working on that stupid place.

The next summer, we used the rental profits from that house as a down payment on the next rental home. That house needed the same projects completed: put up a wall, paint the interior walls and lay down new flooring. Remembering how we sweated away eight weeks of our previous summer break, we asked some friends for referrals to contractors. The contractor we got along with best gave us a quote in between the other two. His bid was “only” $500 more than we’d spent the last summer on our do-it-yourself project.

So, do the work ourselves and lose eight weeks of vacation, bicker when we blamed each other for mishaps, and come home sore everyday Monday-Friday from working our fingers to the bone – or pay a reliable contractor and his crew $500 more to do a high quality job in only two weeks, thereby getting a renter in there faster, not to mention saving us from the aforementioned headaches?

Hmmmm. The choice was obvious. We hired an expert.

What’s that, you say? What if it’s an easy project in air conditioning that doesn’t involve manual labor? Let’s ask a little church in Spain that’s dealing with the aftermath of an amateur artist’s attempt to restore a nineteenth century paintingEcce Homo, which had been donated to the church. Check out the before and after photos (above).

Save time. Save money. Save grief. Always hire an expert.

 
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