Best amateurs know when to call home-improvement pro

Kelsea Gurski

It's not uncommon for homeowners to get in over their heads when attempting a home-improvement project. That's when the professionals get called in.

"We've run across that quite often," said Frank Buraski, owner of Buraski Builders in Springfield, Ill. "They think after watching HGTV or commercials on TV that they can do it themselves, and they tend to bite off more than they can chew. They see it on TV and it looks easy ... but it's just like tying your shoes. If you've never done it before, it's not easy."

Buraski, who has been building and remodeling homes since 1981, said his company gets calls both from homeowners who realize they don't have the skills, tools or time to properly finish the project, and those whose spouses have given them an ultimatum to get the project done by a certain date.

In most cases, homeowners attempt the projects themselves to save time or money, but that often can backfire, Buraski said.

"I think when people start it they just don't realize how difficult some of the jobs are, and they think they are going to save money, but really then end up spending more," he said. "Most of the time, unless they really know what they are doing, they're not saving money."

Added, unexpected costs can range from the tools homeowners purchase for the project to the extra money they owe a contractor to fix what they've done wrong before completing it.

Buraski suggests homeowners make a list of everything that needs to be done in the home and get an estimate from a contractor before attempting the projects alone; it may cost less than they expect, he said.

His advice: "Do what you do best so you can afford to pay people to do what they do best."

Kelsea Gurski can be reached at 788-1526 or