Many home repairs can be done as DIY projects, saving you money on labor costs. Some examples include replacing light bulbs, fixing leaky faucets and unclogging drains.
Getting comfortable with some basic DIY is the best way to save money on home repairs. Try using YouTube videos or DIY blogs to learn more about how to fix certain issues yourself.
1. Do It Yourself
Depending on your skill level and resources, some home repairs are DIY-friendly, while others may be best left to professionals. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 1% to 4% of your home’s value each year for repair expenses.
You can find plenty of online tutorials and in-person workshops at your local hardware store or community center to learn new skills. For example, if you have a squeaky door, try rubbing cooking spray on the hinges to lubricate them instead of paying for WD-40. Also, routine maintenance like cleaning out dryer vents on a monthly basis and draining the water heater each year can prevent future repairs.
2. Go In Person For Materials
While a lot of home repairs are unavoidable, some can be done yourself. Depending on the nature of the repair, you may save money by buying your own materials rather than hiring a professional to do it for you.
You can find great deals on materials at discount stores, open-box retailers and scratch and dent departments. You can also look for salvage yards, Habitat for Humanity ReStores and buy/sell/trade websites like Craigslist. These sources can help you save big on delivery fees and avoid costly mistakes such as ordering the wrong size or color of material.
3. Set A Budget
Even the best-maintained homes can face costly repairs as time goes by. Fortunately, there are ways to save ahead of the unexpected bills.
One popular rule of thumb is to save 1% to 4% of your home’s value each year for maintenance and repair expenses. However, this method glosses over many factors, including local labor costs, weather nuances, and the age of your home.
A better approach is to tuck away a small amount on a regular basis, or consider opening up a line of credit that uses your home equity. Having a plan will prevent you from having to take out a high-interest loan when it comes time to fix an emergency problem.
4. Hire A Professional
Depending on the complexity and risk, some home repairs may be better left to professionals. Things like electrical wiring should only be done by qualified electricians, as any mistake could lead to costly damage, fire or even death.
However, there are some routine tasks that homeowners should be willing to take on, as these will save money in the long run. These include tasks such as cleaning the gutters, sealing cracks and attending to leaks or clogs promptly.
5. Get Multiple Estimates
Home repairs are an inevitable part of homeownership, but if you can follow these tips, they can save you money in the long run. It’s important to get multiple estimates from different contractors.
Compare bids by looking at major work categories. If one contractor’s estimate is significantly higher than another, that could be an indication they spotted something the other two didn’t.
Be sure to ask about a process for cost overruns and change orders. Many contractors will include them in the contract to make up for their lower bids, but be sure you understand what’s included.
6. Do Your Research
Owning a home can be expensive. While it is important to set money aside for your monthly mortgage payment, unexpected costs like home repairs can quickly eat up your savings. When hiring a contractor, do your research before reaching out. Get recommendations from friends and neighbors and check online reviews. Also, make sure to get a quote from multiple contractors. Remember, a low price may not always be the best option, as shoddy work could cost you more in repairs down the road.
When it comes to DIY projects, researching the materials you need and shopping around for the cheapest prices can save you big. It’s also a good idea to look for discounts and sales.
7. Plan Ahead
Home maintenance may not be as exciting as renovating with the help of an HGTV crew, but it’s a vital part of homeownership. That’s because catching issues before they become emergencies is the best way to save money on repairs in the long run.
Some experts suggest saving 1% to 4% of your house’s value each year for maintenance. But this doesn’t take into account things like local weather conditions, the age of your home or other unique factors. New home warranties will cover a lot of home appliance repairs so be sure to look into detail and study the type of warranty you might have.