As a tenant paying rent to a landlord, I never really thought about how much it costs to maintain a home. You pay the rent, the electric, water, gas, and trash bills but if something goes wrong, you call the landlord. Hopefully, the landlord cares about the property and sends a repairman out to fix the problem.
On the other hand, as a homeowner, you not only have to pay the mortgage and utilities, you have to budget and pay for various things which can go wrong. There’s the faucet or toilet which starts to leak, the garage door or doorbell which mysteriously stops working, the washer which decides it’s not going to make it through the spin cycle without stopping dead in its tracks. Welcome to home ownership and the repairs associated with it!
These are all things which have happened to our family. These are things which seem to happen at the most inopportune times. The trick to save on home repairs is to have a budget for these eventualities. Each month, we set aside money which is solely dedicated to fixing things around the house. Sometimes there is enough to fix the problem and sometimes there isn’t.
My husband will admit to anyone that he is not a “fix-it” kind of guy. As a landlord with multiple properties, he called in the professionals who fixed the problem and sent him a bill. I’ve teased him over the years about his philosophy of home repairs: “Who do I write the check to?”
Things like a leaky faucet or toilet are generally a quick fix. YouTube is a great resource for these basic items. When our washer stopped mid-cycle, we looked up the problem on the internet by searching the problem along with the model of the machine. Fortunately, we discovered it was a simple problem which was quickly remedied by following simple instructions given on a website.
First and foremost, determine if it is something you can competently fix. If it isn’t, then it’s time to call in the professionals. Be sure the contractor you hire is not only licensed to do the work you require but also bonded and insured. You want a contractor who will stand behind his work. You do not want a “fly by night” contractor that is liable to do more harm than good.
Ask friends to recommend professionals they have used. Once you’ve identified two or three contractors, get written estimates and ask to see their licenses and proof of insurance. If they are truly professionals, they will have no issue producing this documentation. In the end, you won’t be sorry and will most assuredly save on repairs because you won’t have to fix what the fly by nighter made a bigger mess of.
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