5 Reasons NOW is the Time to Buy a Home in Sunnyvale, CA

Thinking of buying a home in Sunnyvale, CA but want to be sure the timing is right before you invest? Good news for you—now is a great time to get in the real estate game in the Silicon Valley. Here are 5 reasons to buy a home in Sunnyvale.

1. Home Values Are On the Rise.

now is the time to buy a home in sunnyvale because home prices are risingAs a buyer, that means two things. 1. That prices are the lowest they are going to be for a while (so buy now before homes get any more expensive) and 2. That your property value is expected to grow over the next few years. In fact, Zillow predicts as much as a 3.7% rise in property values in Sunnyvale over the next year.

2. Mortgage Rates Are Still Low

now is the time to buy a home in sunnyvale because mortgage rates are still lowBut again, they’re expected to rise—as many as three times throughout 2018. Higher mortgage rates mean higher monthly payments, so once again, invest now while the getting is still good!

3. Sellers Are More Motivated

now is the time to buy a home in sunnyvale because sellers are motivatedSpring and summer are typically considered the “hot” real estate seasons, so sellers placing their homes on the market in fall and winter are usually doing so for urgent reasons, such as relocation for a job. That means they want to get their homes sold quickly, and are often more willing to negotiate on price and closing date.

4. The Competition Has Died Down

An African American couple walking on a residential street, with a young man holding a folder. He is a real estate agent, pointing at a house, talking.Spring and summer home shopping can be a little hectic because it is the real estate hot season. You might fall in love with a house—only to have it snatched up by another buyer before you can even think of making an offer. But fall and winter tend to be a bit more relaxed and give you more time to shop, find, and make reasonable offers.

5. If It Makes Sense for You, Then the Time is Right

now is the time to buy a home in sunnyvale if it makes sense for youThe bottom line is you can’t try to time the market. If you need a home and it makes sense for you in your current situation, then the timing is right. If you’re planning to stay for a while, your finances are stable, and you can comfortably afford a mortgage, then it’s time to consider buying a home.

Thinking of Buying a Home in the Sunnyvale?

If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Sunnyvale, CA, then it’s time to contact Gary & Robert. As your real estate guides to the Silicon Valley, we’re here to help you explore the area, find the perfect home, and relocate with ease.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Living in San Jose

Thinking of moving to San Jose? Well, the good news is, you’ve picked a great spot! San Jose has so much to do, see, and offer, from great entertainment to outstanding employment opportunities to beautiful homes and neighborhoods. Here’s everything you need to know about living in San Jose.

10 Things You Need to Know About Living in San Jose

It’s a great place for sports fans.

attending ice hockey games while living in san joseHockey, soccer, baseball, arena football, even roller derby—we’ve got it all! Cheer on the San Jose Sharks, the Earthquakes, or the Giants along with hundreds of other supportive fans.

Craving a particular flavor? Find it in San Jose.

eat great food while living in san joseAs one of America’s most diverse communities, San Jose has an equally diverse food scene that ranges from top tacos to fantastic pho.

Fresh is better when it comes to food.

eat fresh while living in san joseNot only will you love the diversity of cuisine, you’ll learn to appreciate the focus on freshness, with many restaurants and stores featuring locally-sourced ingredients. And the san Pedro Square Farmers Market is a favorite local event.

There’s always something fun happening.

attend the taco festival while living in san joseDon’t miss out on any of the city’s stupendous events, like the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, the San Jose Flea Market, SubZERO Festival (where art meets tech), or the favorite San Jose Taco Festival, featuring days of taco trucks, masked wrestling, and live music.

The nightlife is hoppin’.

Group of friends at rooftop partyHead to SoFA, the hot nightclub spot in Downtown San Jose to party all night long. Looking for something a little more laid back? We’ve got plenty of relaxed bars and lounges, too.

Art and culture is rich throughout San Jose.

ballet and theatre in san joseFrom the San Jose Museum of Art and The Tech Museum of Innovation to the California Theatre and the San Jose Repertory Theatre, art and science fans alike will rejoice.

It is the high-tech capital of America.

live in the high tech capital of americaIf you’re that person that always has to have the latest apps and gadgets, then you’ll love living in the tech hub of San Jose. You’ll be right in the heart of all the new developments of the tech world—the first to know and test some of the works of America’s best minds. Plus, if you’re tech-minded, the tech jobs are ripe for the taking…

Say good-bye to winter weather.

sunny streets lined in palm trees in san joseAs long as you don’t mind a little summer heat (without the humidity, so it’s really not all that bad), you’ll reap the reward of short, mild winters free of snowy roads, snow-tires, snow-shovels, and all things otherwise snow-related.

The outdoor recreation is phenomenal.

plenty of outdoor activities while living in san joseWith all that warm, sunny weather, it’s good San Jose has so many ways to get outside and enjoy it! Get active with hiking, biking, boating, fishing, camping, horseback riding, and more at favorite local parks like Alum Rock, Coyote Peak, or Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Want a little more of a challenge? Summit Mount Hamilton.

It’s driving distance to some truly amazing places.

driving distance to the beachFrom the towering redwoods of Big Basin Redwoods State Park to the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean, you’re never more than a short drive from some of the best places in California.

Really, it’s no surprise San Jose is a Best Place to Live.

Family Enjoying Cupcakes At Outdoor Summer EventThat’s right—US News & World Report named it the #3 Best Place to Live in America! Why? Job market, quality of life, commute times, unemployment rates, and average salary, just to name a few.

Plus, Livability.com named San Jose a Top 10 City for College Grads, citing great schools, plenty of shopping and dining, diverse culture, lots of outdoor activities, and plenty of things to do. The city has also been named a top city for job growth and opportunity, and a best city for education.

Ready to Come Live in San Jose—One of America’s Best Cities?

If you’re thinking of relocating to San Jose, CA, then it’s time to contact Gary & Robert. As your guides to real estate in the Silicon Valley, we’re here to help you explore the area, learn more about buying a home, and discover the perfect place to live.

6 Reasons Why Owning a Home is Awesome

From personalizing your living spaces to turning a profit when you sell, there are dozens of reasons why first-time home buyers can’t wait to find a home and make it their own. Though there are plenty of benefits of owning a home, here are the six benefits that stand out from the rest.

decorated room in a home

1. You Can Customize Your Space

Whether you want to invest in the latest high-tech home features or paint your walls neon green, owning a home gives you the freedom to do just about anything you want.

cute dog in a backyard

2. You Make the Rules

Unlike with a rental property, where a landlord can dictate what you can and can’t do while living there, living in your own home means you have the freedom to host parties, adopt a pet, plant a garden, you name it. As a homeowner, you are in total control!

calculator next to accounting sheet

3. You Can Take Advantage of Tax Breaks

It’s true what they say: owning a home is an investment. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways that you can reap financial rewards up front. The IRS allows homeowners to deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, and capital gains from their annual taxes.

flowers in a street median

4. You Can Better Invest in Your Community

Eager to make friends with your neighbors? Want to participate in homeowners association meetings? Can’t wait to get involved with community beautification projects or local organizations? When you own a home, you can truly become an important part of the community.

cozy home

5. You Can Put Down Roots

Speaking of getting involved in your community, owning a home also allows you to settle down and establish roots in a home and neighborhood that you love.

increasing heights of coin stacks

6. You Can Earn Money Back When You Sell Your Home

The longer you live in your home, the more equity you build. And if the homes in your neighborhood are appreciating in value, you can earn a significant amount of money back when you decide to sell your home — maybe even thousands of dollars!

Want to Own a Home of Your Own? We Can Help!

Homeownership is a rewarding experience, especially if you have the right tools and resources at your fingertips. If you’re considering buying your first home, give us a call and let’s talk about your plans!

Birdland in Sunnyvale, CA Really Does Have Everything You Need

beautiful birdland sunnyvale homesSearching for a neighborhood that has it all, the perfect place to work, play, and live? Want to be close to all the action, a short drive from work, yet still live in a peaceful suburban paradise? Time to explore Birdland, one of the most popular communities in Sunnyvale, CA!

What Makes Birdland Sunnyvale So Special?

Birdland has it all—location, amenities, and beautiful homes. Situated between Downtown Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and Cupertino, Birdland is just minutes from work or play… in every direction. Top Silicon Valley employers are just a short drive away thanks to easy access to I-280 and Route 82, shopping, dining, and entertainment surround the neighborhood, and there are plenty of outstanding local parks to explore.

comfortable and elegant interiorThe Homes of Birdland

Looking for the perfect blend of luxury and comfort? You’ll find it in Birdland. These single-family homes offer large and modern living spaces along tree-lined streets. Landscaped yards are common, as are enclosed or fenced yards, open floorplans, large entertainment rooms, skylights, fireplaces, stainless steel appliances, and more.

Radnor Park of Birdland

In the heart of Birdland, you’ll find the scenic Radnor Park. It might seem like your run-of-the-mill neighborhood park with ball fields and walking paths, but it’s a little more than that. Here, you’ll also find the Full Circle Farm, which welcomes volunteers to its lovely gardens and strives to provide enriching educational experiences to students. There are even community events to enjoy!

An Unbeatable Silicon Valley Location

Between Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and Cupertino, Birdland is just minutes from everything. In fact, it’s only 10 minutes from birdland locationDowntown Sunnyvale, 10 minutes from Downtown Santa Clara, and 10 minutes from the new Apple Campus. Even San Jose is just a 15-minute drive. Plus, you don’t need to go far to find shopping, dining, and even entertainment in nearby places.

Nearby Attractions & Amenities

Whether you need to stock up on groceries, you’re seeking a retail fix, or just looking for a tasty bite to eat, there are plenty of options just minutes away. You’ll find plenty of stores, restaurants, and businesses in centers like Cupertino Village, Lawrence Station, the Vallco Mall, or the nearby Koreatown. Get outside at local parks like Ortega or Heritage. Practice your swing at the Sunken Garden Golf Course. Even connect with your community at the Sunnyvale Community Center and Library.

Ready to Come Discover Birdland for Yourself?

Does this sound like just the place you’ve been looking for? Then it’s time to contact Gary & Robert. As your guides to all things real estate in the Silicon Valley, we’re here to help you explore the area, learn more about life in Sunnyvale, and find the perfect place to call home.

How Buyers and Sellers Have Lost Thousands of Dollars to Email Scams

laptop and smart phoneEmail scams are as old as, well, email, but as the years go by, these scams have become more and more sophisticated. Recently, several home buyers have fallen victim to specially targeted email scams that attempt to rob them of their closing costs — sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These types of scams are devastating both financially and emotionally, especially when your home is involved. But to help protect you from email scams targeting the real estate industry, we have outlined a few tips about what these scams are and how to avoid them.

What Email Scams Are Common?

Though the method through which hackers collect personal or financial information is always changing, there are a few basic types of scams that buyers and sellers should be aware of.


fishingThis type of scam attempts to “fish” for sensitive personal or financial information (such as passwords or credit card numbers). Many emails used in recent phishing schemes look legitimate; they may use the name of a trusted company or individual as the sender name, but the email address is slightly different than the company’s or individual’s verified address.

These types of email messages may also ask you to verify information or click on a link, which could install harmful software on your computer.

Wire Transfer Fraud

A specific type of phishing email that has been targeting home buyers recently is one that asks buyers to wire their closing costs to another account. The email typically crafts some urgent scenario, such as a last-minute change in wiring instructions, and urges the recipient to act quickly by wiring the money to the new account. This phishing email has led to home buyers losing thousands of dollars — in some cases, the entire purchase price of the house — to scammers. Unfortunately, the money can’t be returned once it’s gone.

Wire transfer fraud scams are especially dangerous because the emails appear to be sent directly from the real estate agent, the electronic signature company, or the title company. There may not be any misspellings or grammatical errors in the email message (which were surefire signs of a scam in the past), the message itself may be friendly and conversational, and any information related to the real estate transaction may be detailed and accurate.

How You Can Avoid Falling Victim to Email Scams

Now that you know what types of scams have plagued the real estate industry, here are a few tips you can follow to prevent yourself from falling victim to a devastating email scam.

person dialing a phone numberVerify that you received an email from the right person. Ensure that any emails you receive are legitimate by contacting the sender directly. Make sure you look up their phone number instead of clicking on the number provided in the email signature, which may be the scammer’s phone number.

Verify that the email address is legitimate. When you receive emails that appear to be from your real estate agent, title company, or attorney, check to make sure the sender’s email address does not contain misspellings, extra characters, or anything unusual.

Never share sensitive information via email. Your real estate agent will never ask you to send sensitive personal or financial information in an email.

Don’t touch an email that looks suspicious. Never click on any links or download any attachments from an unverified email, even if it looks legitimate. These links or attachments could be malware that will harm your computer.

Always use strong passwords. Use passwords that contain letters, numbers, and special characters, and change them periodically.

Update your antivirus software. Protect your computer from malware by ensuring your antivirus is up to date.

Report suspicious emails. If you receive an email that seems suspicious or is in fact a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission immediately.

Contact Us to Learn More

We’re aware of scams like these, so it’s our goal to keep you informed whether you’re buying or selling a home. Give us a call and we’ll provide you with any additional resources you need!

Google is Coming… Here’s What It Means for San Jose

new developments in san joseThe city of San Jose is soon to have a new largest employer… the tech giant Google. That’s right; Google is coming to Downtown San Jose. The company is planning an 8-million square foot tech office campus near the Diridon Train Station—a 250-acre site that would be twice the size of its Mountain View campus.

The new offices would employ as many as 20,000 workers, bringing thousands of new jobs to the city.

Google Has Plans Beyond Office Space

In addition to office spaces, Google has expressed strong interest in bringing additional developments to Downtown, such as open spaces for public outdoor recreation, entertainment venues, and retail stores. It has also expressed plans to bring affordable housing to the area, and not just for its workers.

Google Sparks Other New Developments

The coming of Google has sparked interest of other developers and builders in the area, leading to the increasing purchasing new developments in san joseand planning of buildings and spaces in the Downtown area. Easy access to public transit, dining, entertainment, and residential living make Downtown San Jose a popular location for developers.

Two real estate firms are considering building a million square-foot office campus in an aging district along the Guadalupe River, and additional firms have proposed ideas for offices, commercial development, and housing.

A Transportation Revolution at Diridon Train Station

In addition to new commercial and residential developments in the area, Google’s arrival is expected to bring a revolution to public transit in San Jose. There are already $10 billion in plans to incorporate BART and high-speed rail service, and the ultimate plan is to reform the station into a “Grand Central Station of the West”, complete with BART, light rail, Caltrain, Amtrak, the ACE Train, and even a bullet train connecting to LA and Central Valley.

The Overall Economic Benefits of Google’s New Campus

Google’s arrival will bring thousands of jobs to the city of San Jose, as well as major new development and revitalization to shopping and dining in downtown san joseDowntown that could include as much as 3,000 new residential units—in addition to the 6,000 already planned and the thousands recently completed. Already, Google’s plans have spurred commercial development in the area and increased property values as more and more developers plan their own commercial, residential, and mixed-use spaces.

In short, the coming of Google is likely to transform Downtown San Jose.

Thinking of Relocating to Downtown San Jose?

If you want to get in on the action in Downtown San Jose, now is the time to buy—before prices start to climb! Search homes for sale in Downtown San Jose, discover San Jose, or learn more about buying a home in the Silicon Valley. Ready to get started or have some questions? Just contact Gary & Robert—your guides to real estate in the Silicon Valley.

6 Questions to Ask When Considering a Neighborhood with an HOA

community pool with inflatable innertubeLet’s say you have your heart set on buying a home in a community with a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and maybe even a playground or trails. Having access to these amenities often means living in a community with a homeowners association, or HOA.

Generally, an HOA is responsible for keeping the neighborhood looking beautiful — and as a result, keeping property values high. But since no two neighborhoods are the same, no two HOAs will be the same, either.

What You Should Know About the Homeowners Association

Doing your research on homes and communities means finding the answers to dozens of questions. As a savvy home buyer, you’ve probably already considered some of the most important topics early on in your home search, such as the local property taxes and whether the neighborhood is appreciating in value.

But if you’re considering a neighborhood with an HOA, there are a few additional things that you should know about the community and the association before you buy a home. Here are the essential questions you should ask.

1. What Does the Homeowners Association Do?

home with landscaped yardEach community varies, but in general, a homeowners association assists residents with property maintenance (by providing services like lawn care, trash removal, or Internet), regularly beautifies the neighborhood common areas, and upkeeps any shared amenities. In return for these services, residents pay an association fee, which we’ll talk about later.

Since the HOA is also concerned with keeping property values high, the homeowners association may also dictate what residents can and can’t do with their properties. These rules keep residents from worrying about a neighbor painting their house a funky color or letting their lawn go wild.

2. Are You Required to Join the HOA?

Before you decide to buy a home in an HOA neighborhood, first check to see whether the community has a voluntary or mandatory HOA. A voluntary HOA doesn’t require that you join the association or pay dues, but a mandatory HOA does.

3. How Much Are the HOA Fees?

As we mentioned before, HOA fees cover the services that the association provides. HOA fee costs (and the frequency with which they’re paid) can vary from community to community, so ask your real estate agent about how much the fees are before you buy a home in the neighborhood.

4. What Are the HOA’s Expectations for Residents?

bylaws for a community associationTypically, a homeowners association will have a list of rules and regulations that residents are expected to follow when they live in the community. (These are known as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, or CC&Rs.)

These regulations can dictate everything from what colors you can use to paint your home to how many vehicles you can park in the driveway. Again, each homeowners association varies, so it’s best to read the Bylaws of communities you’re considering to learn what’s expected of residents.

5. When (And How Often) Does the HOA Meet?

If you’re interested in joining your neighborhood’s HOA to get involved in your community, you might also want to consider when the association meets. The HOA may meet annually, bimonthly, or monthly, depending on the association’s size, so check to see if the regular meetings will fit within your schedule.

6. Does the HOA Host Any Activities?

Finally, when considering a neighborhood with an HOA, you should learn whether the HOA provides other ways for you to get involved and meet your neighbors. Ask your real estate agent about whether the neighborhood association hosts annual block parties, pool parties, holiday celebrations, Yard of the Month competitions, or any other neighborhood activities.

We’re Here to Answer Your Home Buying Questions!

Have a question about a specific neighborhood or the home buying process in general? We’re more than happy to give you the information you need. Call us and let’s chat.

Your Back-to-School Checklist for a Hassle-Free Return to Routine

back-to-school checklist for parentsParents and guardians, it’s almost that time of year. The time we all anticipate with a certain mix of longing and dread—back to school season. Are you ready to make the transition from carefree summertime living to early mornings and regular routine? Avoid the frantic mornings, the last-minute homework scrambles, and all the stress with this handy back-to-school checklist!

Update the Kids’ Closets

Before heading out to tackle the back-to-school sales, go through clothes from last year to see what still fits. Donate any old or outgrown clothes before bringing new ones in to fill up closets. Consider a holding a fashion show to make it more fun for kids, and maybe take some time to make sure the closet is organized.

And While You’re at It, Knock Out School Supplies Shopping

See if you can get a supplies list from your teachers ahead of time. For real back-to-school savings, determine what can be reused fromschool supplies on your back-to-school checklistlast year (i.e. backpacks, lunchboxes, pens/pencils, etc.). Then head out to purchase the rest—before the last-minute crowds arrive.

Take Care of Medical Forms ASAP

As soon as you can get paperwork, fill it out and send it over to your doctor as quickly as possible—before the homework starts up or other paperwork starts coming in.

Purchase Alarm Clocks for the Kids

Save your voice in the morning; buy your kids alarm clocks to get them out of bed. Even if they have their own cell phones, an alarm clock can be a useful purchase, especially considering the options that are available, like alarms with gradually increasing sound or timers for bedside lamps. You can even try setting the alarm across the room so your child has to get up to turn it off.

Plan (and Make) Lunches Ahead of Time

happy student going back to schoolSave yourself the extra time in the morning. Figure out what you’ll make for the week, go grocery shopping, and make up lunches at least the night beforehand.

Create a Master Calendar

Hang a (color-coded) calendar for everyone to see that shows regular activities and one-time events for each person in the family. This can help you and the kids stay organized. Got smart phones? You can also try syncing up your calendars through Google or iCloud, or use an app like Evernote or Got Family Get Organized.

Have a Paperwork Spot

Possibly with your master calendar, have an organized spot for kids to put (and find) paperwork. Have a place for paperwork that needs to be signed by you, and another for paperwork that’s signed. File important information so it’s easily handy and accessible. If you’re going digital, consider scanning paperwork onto your computer.happy family because of back-to-school checklist

Make Time for Family

One of the most important things you can do as a parent or guardian is to make time for the kids. Don’t come home and immediately go to homework, chores, or dinner preparation. Take 20-30 minutes to go outside and play, take a trip to your local park, take a walk through the neighborhood, or play a game inside if the weather isn’t nice. This will give everyone a chance to relax and enjoy some time together.

Going Back to School in a New Location of the Silicon Valley?

If you are relocating to the Silicon Valley for back to school season, you’ll likely need all the help you can get to avoid all the school day stress. Team up with Gary & Robert to learn more about life in the Silicon Valley, explore its neighborhoods, get plenty of relocation advice and resources, and find your dream home ASAP! Just call us today!

Want Top Dollar for Your Home? Hire a Real Estate Pro

A quick Google search is all it takes to discover hundreds of new recipes, do-it-yourself projects, and tips about how to stage your home. With so much information available online, especially about the home selling process, many homeowners start to wonder whether it’s faster and more cost-efficient to sell their own homes rather than hiring a real estate agent to do it for them. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.)

Sold sign in front of single-family houseMaybe you’re just now thinking about selling your home. All those HGTV shows and helpful articles make it look so easy — how hard could it be to sell your home yourself? Or maybe you’re already elbows deep into selling For Sale By Owner and are thinking, this isn’t so bad.

A helpful tip when considering whether to skip right over hiring an agent: Just because you can do something yourself doesn’t mean that you should, especially when it comes to selling a home.

So what makes a real estate agent so invaluable?

What Does a Real Estate Agent Do, Anyway?

Everything from preparing paperwork to negotiating the price and terms — you name it, a real estate agent does it. But what many home sellers forget is that a real estate agent’s job is a lot of behind-the-scenes work.

contract to purchase a homeWhen you hire a real estate professional, you’re not only benefitting from the agent’s intimate knowledge of what’s happening in the local housing market, you’re also working with a licensed professional who is legally bound to work in your best interests. A few essential elements of their job include:

  • Researching recent comparable sales to determine the best price for your home
  • Spending their own time and money to market your listing
  • Promoting your home through their network of contacts and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
  • Coordinating showing appointments and open houses on your behalf
  • Responding quickly to inquiries about your property
  • Writing counteroffers and filling out required disclosures
  • Doing everything they can to help you achieve your goals

Isn’t It Cheaper to Sell My Home Myself?

Commission — a percentage of the sale proceeds that goes to the real estate agents involved in the transaction — is a major factor in the decision to go FSBO (For Sale By Owner) or hire a real estate pro. Working without a real estate agent will certainly save you a few thousand dollars on commission, but there’s a catch.

If You Go Down the FSBO Road

If you decide to go FSBO, you won’t save as much money as you think. You might not even save money at all.

Sign that says For Sale By OwnerYou will have to spend your own time and money to invest in quality photography for your listing, purchase marketing materials (and not just a For Sale By Owner sign), carefully research which home improvements will bring you the most bang for your buck, and list your home on the MLS, just to name a few.

This all assumes that you price your property correctly, manage to entice more than a couple of buyers with your marketing efforts, investigate whether interested buyers are actually qualified to purchase your home, make all the right repairs so no red flags surface during the home inspection, and don’t make a costly mistake involving disclosure forms or the contract!

If You Work with a Real Estate Agent

Since real estate agents are licensed professionals, they are experts at handling all the details of your transaction. They will help you avoid costly mistakes, negotiate the best price and terms for your property, and ensure that it sells for top dollar.

At the end of the day, working with a real estate agent instead of going FSBO will save you time, money, and headaches.

Okay, I’m Convinced — What Do I Do Next?

If your goal is to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, we can help. We’re more than happy to share our wealth of home selling resources, including staging tips and a home evaluation. Give us a call and let’s talk about your plans.

Should You Hire a Professional or DIY on Those Home Repairs?

equipment for a do-it-yourself home repairTo DIY or not to DIY? That’s the question on many homeowners’ minds when there’s a repair or home improvement project on their to-do lists. The good news is that you can do plenty of things on your own. But for other projects, you’re better off hiring a licensed contractor, plumber, or electrician to do the work for you.

When undertaking a home improvement project, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you want to strike a balance between saving time by hiring a professional and saving money by doing it yourself. So here’s how to know when to hire a professional and when to go DIY.

Replacing Hardware — Do It Yourself

Need an upgrade from tarnished doorknobs, outdated cabinet pulls, or boring light switches? Pick up new hardware from a local home improvement store and go for it. Replacing hardware is a fairly simple fix that any homeowner can do on their own.

roofer's tool belt on top of a houseReplacing Roof Shingles — Hire a Professional

Unless you have significant roofing experience (and aren’t afraid of heights), you’re better off leaving this job to the professionals. Contractors can repair your roof in significantly less time — and save you risk of injury.

Installing Ceiling Fans or Light Fixtures — It Depends

If the wiring is already there, you can put in a new fan or light in your living room yourself with little problem. Just make sure that you’ve turned off the power on the circuit breaker before removing the original fixture.

However, if you want to add a ceiling fan or overhead light to a room that doesn’t have wiring already in place, you will need to hire an electrician. They will check to see if your home has sufficient amperage (and rewire the room if necessary), cut and patch drywall to install the fixture, and add a light switch.

Installing Major Appliances — Hire a Professional

Installing a new oven, refrigerator, washing machine, or dishwasher takes quite a bit of know-how, so you’re better off hiring a professional to get the job done right. They will check the wattage, check gas and water connections, and ensure that your new appliance is level, among other things.

white tile backsplash in updated kitchenAdding a Backsplash — Do It Yourself

Adding wall tile to your kitchen or bathroom is something you can do yourself. Home improvement stores have all the equipment you need, from mortar to tile cutters to the wall tiles themselves. When considering this DIY project, make sure that you have the time to prepare the mortar and grout, lay the tile, seal the backsplash, and allow everything to dry.

Adding Granite or Quartz Countertops — Hire a Professional

Upgrading your countertops involves precise cutting of the quartz or granite and assistance from several people to lift the heavy countertops — plus the initial assurance that your cabinets can support the weight of the heavy material. So when installing new granite or quartz counters, it’s better to hire a professional.

Need Recommended Service Providers?

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, we can connect you with trusted contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other professionals who can save you time and money on your home improvements. Contact us and we’ll be happy to provide recommendations!