Taking Care of your Home: Repairs & Renovations

Taking Care of Your Home: Repairs

Even if you are diligent about doing preventative maintenance, at some point something will probably break down and require repairs. You may be able to save money by doing minor repairs yourself–many hardware stores offer classes, and there are many books and material on the internet on Do it Yourself repair.

However, it is usually best to leave major work to a professional (as well as anything else you do not feel comfortable doing yourself). Locate quality repair people in different fields (plumber, electrician, pest control contractor, heating/cooling contractor, etc.) before you need them. Ask homeowners you know for references and can also do research online–there are many sites that rate/review service providers.

Renovations

Being able to customize your house is one of the benefits of homeownership. But it is not always a simple task. It is a good idea to live in the home for at least a year before undertaking any major voluntary projects, not only because you are adjusting to a new financial situation but also because it gives you time to get a good feel for the house and know if something is truly a problem.

For example, perhaps when moving in to your new home you have one bathroom and want to add a second; it’s best to live with one for a period of time to assess if undergoing a renovation to add a second one makes sense.

Renovations: Planning Is Important

Once you do decide to renovate, first determine what exactly you want to do, how much it will cost, and how you will finance it. If the project is simple, such as replacing countertops, you may be able to plan it yourself. If it is more complicated, such as doing an addition, you will likely need to consult with a professional.

When determining the costs, remember to include both labor and materials. Also keep in mind that it can be hard to predict everything that will come up during the course of the renovation, so you may have to spend more than you initially thought to complete the work. If you are concerned with the return on your investment (ROI) (the costs compared to the increase in your home’s value) you may want to consult with an appraiser or real estate agent. Some projects may only increase your home’s value slightly or actually hurt the value. (For example, swimming pools are commonly seen as a negative in many locations.)

Next Topic: How should I finance the Cost?

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