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Real estate agents may reserve this term for properties that require serious work, but once you buy a home you realize that every home is a fixer-upper.

According to The New York Times, homeowners typically pay 3.6 to 4.5 percent of their home's purchase price every year for maintenance. If you paid $175,000 for your home, that means you'll be shelling out more than $6,000 per year for those dripping faucets, cracked ceilings, broken windows and other problems.

Your home may also need updates to keep it looking good. From 2009 to 2011, Americans launched 119 million home-improvement projects, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 40 percent of the time, they handled the projects on their own, and for the rest they called a professional.

When the next home project arises, should you pull out your toolbox or bring in an expert? Here's how to make the call:

DIY isn't always the best choice for home projects
By handling some home projects yourself, you can get the job done more cheaply and quickly than calling a professional. But if you take on more than you can handle, you may wind up damaging your home, hurting yourself or spending extra money to fix mistakes. Before you pick up the hammer or screwdriver, ask yourself:

  • Do I know how to do this? If you're new to home repair, set your sights on simpler projects like painting a wall or perhaps replacing a faucet, Lowe's suggested. Look to professionals for bigger jobs like fixing electrical wiring or plumbing lines. Keep in mind that local building codes may apply to your project, which is another good reason to consider a professional, Next Avenue recommended.
  • Is this safe? If the project requires you to risk a fall, like climbing a ladder or getting on your roof, let a home repair professional handle it, Next Avenue said.
  • Do I have what I need for the project? If your project requires you to buy specialized tools or rent a truck to haul supplies from the home improvement store, hiring a contractor or handyman may cost less.

  • How much time will this take? If you enjoy the challenge of a home project, you might be happy to spend your time on it. But if it's taking hours or days that you would rather devote to relaxing or bringing in income, the money you pay a professional may be a bargain.
  • Making the right repair decisions helps you take care of your home and protect your financial well-being. Finding the right homeowners insurance can do this, too. To quickly and easily find insurance that fits your needs, check out CoverHound.

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