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DIY home improvement isn't always worth it

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Thinking about making some home improvements and doing them yourself? You're not alone. A recent survey by TheStreet.com found that 70 percent of consumers skip the contractor and enlist the help of family and friends.

But what should you tackle on your own and at what cost?

Lauren Lyons Cole, a financial expert and a contributor to TheStreet.com, shares some advice. Here are her money-saving tips:

  • Before you start your remodel, make sure the cost will really raise the value of your home by checking costvsvalue.com for ROI figures for various projects.
  • Just because you can do-it-yourself doesn't mean you should. That's because you may be able to pay someone to do the work for much less than what your time is worth. This is a way to estimate your "hourly rate": Drop the last three zeroes off your annual salary and then divide by two; e.g., if your annual salary is $80,000, then 80/2=$40/hour. If you can hire someone to do a job for less than that, then it makes sense to do so.
  • Plan the job in advance by first research costs and making a budget because homeowners often underestimate remodeling costs.
  • Rent the tools rather than buy them. This is especially true if you live in an apartment and don't have space to store tools. Home Depot and other home stores have tool rental services. For example, a rotary hammer costs $600 to buy but may costs you only $60 a day to rent.

Check out more money tips from Lauren here.

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