Home maintenance can cost a lot of money! But if you approach your repairs with saving as a priority, you can seriously slash your costs. Here are five ways to fix your home without breaking the bank.
make dates to do the regular tasks that need doing
1. Do preventative maintenanceDon’t be the person who “should have”. Homes need maintenance, so they don’t fall apart, but it’s easy to neglect the little problems until they turn into big ones. To avoid this, make dates to do the regular tasks that need doing like emptying gutters or cutting back trees (actually put them in your calendar), and any time you spot something that needs fixing, put aside a bit of weekend time to get on top of if it.
Some of the most important things you can do for household maintenance are fixing leaks before they become a damp problem, replacing roof tiles or fixing holes in a tin roof before the rainy season, sealing or repairing damaged floors before the damage spreads, fixing leaking taps to avoid water wastage and repairing silicone seals around sinks, basins and baths.
2. Shop around for affordable handymenIn your phone book, you probably have the number of that plumber who used to help your mom out, or that electrician that you once got hold of in an emergency, and you just keep using them whenever you have something that needs fixing even though they charge a fortune. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In South Africa, there are loads of qualified handymen, plumbers and electricians who do an excellent job at competitive prices. The best way to find a new household maintenance professional is to get a referral – so ask on your neighbourhood WhatsApp group, your suburb’s Facebook page or among the friends who live in your area for the people they most like to use. And it’s a good idea to do this before your next emergency, so you have all the numbers you need on file.
Always ask if there’s a call-out fee and, if so, what it is. For bigger jobs, get competitive quotes.
3. Use YouTube to learn anythingDon’t leave it to the professionals! There are loads of household maintenance tasks that you can do for yourself. Even if you’ve never wired a plug in your life, YouTube is an incredible resource for learning new things. And the visual nature of the medium lets you clearly see how things should be done. You’ll be replacing light switches and tap washers in no time.
Some of the best DIY YouTube channels are:
4. Don’t forget your household insuranceWhen you took out your home loan, your bank or lending organisation would have insisted that you have homeowner’s or building’s insurance in place, in case anything goes wrong with the structure of your home. People often agree to taking out this type of cover without fully understanding it and pay for things it would have covered out of their own pockets.
Get familiar with your homeowner’s insurance policy, and always call your insurance provider first when something goes wrong because you might be covered. Homeowners insurance will often cover things like damage to the perimeter wall or gate, bent burglar bars after a break-in, an emergency electrician or plumber, a burst geyser, damage from fallen trees and even swarming bee removal.
5. Get to know your local hardware storeHardware stores often run specials on products, so if you’ve been bitten by the home maintenance bug, it’s worth visiting regularly to see if something you need is available at a reduced price. If you need an expensive tool or piece of equipment that you are unlikely to use often, see if you can rent it from your local store or a rental specialist. And if you aren’t sensitive about the colour that you paint a room, you can pick up a tin of “wrong mixed” paint for about half the price you would pay for the colour of your choice.
Get saving!Home maintenance and improvements don’t have to cost you the Earth, as long as you have an eye for a bargain and the will to learn. These five savings tips should get your house in tip-top shape at a fraction of the cost.