Is there anything worse than spending a Saturday working on home projects you’ve been meaning to finish for ages only to realize that there are major, costly, urgent issues that need to be addressed? The problem with these unexpected home repairs is that they can become extremely expensive, extremely fast.
We’re going to supply you with a bit of advice on how you can save money when these costly repairs crop up and give you a few tips on preventative measures. Keep reading to find out more!
Not-So-Major Repairs: DIY
Before deciding to take out a second mortgage, worrying about how you’ll put food on the table, or selling your most prized possessions, there are some seemingly large home repairs that are actually quite easy to fix.
One of them is a splashing toilet. You can’t help but wonder why you flush your toilet only to notice that there is water around the bowl. This may seem like a big deal, and it can become a major problem if left unaddressed, but replacing a toilet can actually be done with just a little bit of know-how and possibly some online tutorials.
Other projects that you may be able to handle with ease include repairing or replacing your garbage disposal, swapping out a circuit breaker fuse, or unclogging a stubborn drain.
The point is that doing projects yourself is one of the easiest ways to save money. Unfortunately, if you aren’t familiar with using the needed tools or aren’t overly handy, attempting to do it yourself may end up costing you more. This is because you will have to have your mistakes professionally corrected along with the initial problem.
When and How to Hire a Professional
Sometimes you may begin working on a home repair only to find out you are in far over your head. Hopefully, you realize the complexity at the beginning instead of when you’re knee-deep in a flooded basement.
If you happen to realize that your home repair is too complex, opting for a professional is your best bet. Your friends or family may try to help, but unless they are licensed in the area in which they’re offering help, avoid taking this offer.
Ideally, you will already have a list of go-to contractors. If you’ve never had a similar issue or you are new to your area, you may need to do some research. If time allows, ask your friends and family who they recommend. Take these recommendations and research each contractor online by reading reviews. Call multiple professionals to ask for estimates and opt for one that offers a mid-range price.
Choosing a contractor with a mid-range estimate is typically your best bet because the cheapest may not include all materials needed or leave you with shoddy work. The most expensive quote may also be overpriced.
Sometimes you don’t have the time to carefully research the type of contractor you need due to the repair being urgent and the possibility of further damage occurring without immediate action. An easy way to find a plumber or electrician is simply by using a site dedicated to contractor reviews. These types of sites allow you to easily see the types of professionals you need all in a single glance, read reviews from previous customers and even receive quotes on the project at hand.
A Little Maintenance Goes A Long Way
A great way to save money on home repairs is by keeping up with simple, routine maintenance. When you choose to properly maintain your home, plumbing, major appliances, and fixtures, you will be able to spot any small issues, allowing you to correct problems before they become urgent and costly.
Consult with a plumber, electrician, and other contractors to develop a maintenance routine. For plumbing, start with the following steps:
- Opt for a water softener which will reduce the mineral buildup inside of the pipes;
- Reduce your water pressure to lower strain on the pipes and reduce the likelihood of leaks;
- Remove clogs quickly and effectively, avoiding chemical drain cleaners as they can damage the existing plumbing;
- Winterize all exposed pipes properly.
When it comes to electrical & appliance maintenance, following the steps below will also help you avoid unnecessary and expensive repairs, or at least give you fair warning that something is wrong:
- Function check outlets monthly;
- Replace filters as needed for any appliance that may require them (typically for HVAC purposes);
- Take note of any exposed wires and report them to your electrician during their next visit;
- Schedule routine maintenance and inspections by professionals.
Again, the idea is to catch problems before they become full-fledged emergencies which can help save you money in the long-run.
The Question of Taxes
You may have heard that you can claim home repairs as a deduction on your taxes. If your home is only your home (and not used partially for business) you may not claim repairs but you can claim certain renovations or other improvements as a tax deduction.
This is especially true if your renovations are energy efficient, make improvements/repairs the same year you sell your house, or rent out your home.
While this method of ‘saving’ money when you are dealing with unexpected home repairs won’t help you immediately, you may see some of the money back during tax season. It is also important that your claims stay honest, no one wants to get in trouble for tax fraud!
Final Thoughts on Saving Money on Unexpected Home Repairs
Unfortunately, when it comes to unexpected home repairs, you are either going to have to do it yourself or hire a professional. Either option has its own pros and cons, but both can wind up being expensive.
Obviously, one of the best ways to avoid major repairs is by staying on top of maintenance issues and taking note of small problems (not ignoring them.) While you may be able to claim certain costs as deductions on your taxes, don’t always count on this as it may not be an option.
It is also prudent to check into what your home insurance covers and if it is worth claiming any damage & paying the deductible or simply fixing the problem. Just be wary that claims made but that aren’t paid could cause your insurance premium to increase.
Whichever way you choose to go about making major repairs to your home, be sure to do so safely!