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One of the biggest downsides of owning your own home is that, in addition to a mortgage payment, you have to pay for repair costs yourself instead of just calling a landlord. Making fixes to your property can eat up a big chunk of your budget or even send you into debt if you aren’t prepared to cover the expenses and have to charge them to a credit card.
The good news is, there are things you can do to keep your maintenance costs as low as possible. Here are four techniques I use as a homeowner to reduce the amount I spend on keeping my property in tip-top shape.
1. Address small problems before they become big ones
Minor issues develop pretty regularly in most homes. These pesky little problems can be easy to ignore, but doing so could end up costing you in the end if a small problem escalates into a big one because you didn’t fix it before the issue got worse.
Ignoring that faucet drip, for example, may not seem like a big deal — but if you end up with a flood one day that destroys all your floors, you’ll likely find yourself really wishing you’d taken action before disaster struck.
2. DIY when it’s safe and possible
Sweat equity can really pay off in keeping costs down. Now, there are times when it doesn’t pay to try to DIY — such as when dealing with electrical issues or other home repairs that could have safety implications.
But many minor problems can easily be fixed on your own if you take the time to watch a few instructional videos about the process. This can save you considerably on labor costs and, as a bonus, you’ll learn more about how your house works and develop new skills as you make fixes.
3. Shop online for materials
Online materials can be easier on your budget than those purchased in a store. For example, we recently had a plumber replace a faucet for our instant hot water system. The faucet he found at the local plumbing supply store was over $1,400, but I found a comparable one on the Internet for less than $400.
It’s worth taking the time to research all of your options, and see if you can get the same items — or a less expensive substitute that’s still good quality.
4. Do preventative maintenance
Finally, taking care of your home by doing proper preventative maintenance is crucial to keeping the property’s systems in good working order. You wouldn’t expect your car to keep running if you didn’t get the oil changed, so you shouldn’t assume you can neglect basic maintenance tasks on your property either.
By regularly changing our HVAC filters, cleaning out our dishwasher drain, and doing some other basic upkeep on a regular basis, we help to keep all of our appliances as well as our heating and cooling system working properly.
It can take a little time to figure out all of these tricks once you buy a home, but they’re well worth doing if you can keep more money in your bank account instead of spending it on costly home repairs.