January 15th, 2016 3:29 PM by Mary Ellen Hornung
As a homeowner, sometimes
it feels as though the constant stream of repairs, upgrades, and replacements
is never-ending. But when something breaks, immediately calling the
professionals may not make the most sense. Before you pick up the phone, check
out this list from Trulia.com for some
money-saving DIY home projects:
A few repair items have fluctuating prices depending on the time of year. With
the arrival of fall, furnace maintenance calls are at an all-time high; the
same for gutter cleaning. Why not have these items checked and repaired in the
summer, during the slow season? You could score a discount, and you'll feel
like a rock star for dealing with them well in advance.
Often, a bit of research into a DIY repair issue can save you
hundreds of dollars. The plethora of instructional videos on YouTube is
mind-boggling; furnace repair has more than 90K videos. Chances are, you're
going to find what you're looking for. When you find an instructive and helpful
video, consider subscribing to the channel. Next time you take out your tool
belt, finding the perfect video will be a snap.
Building and repairing items with salvaged materials is not only a money saver,
it's also environmentally friendly. From lumber to doors, windows, vanities,
and light fixtures, pretty much everything can be purchased for a fraction of
the price secondhand. Familiarize yourself with the return policy in the event
your purchase is not in great working order.
DIY is the American way, but the cost of tools can be a huge out-of-pocket
expense before you even get started. Rather than buying a tool you're going to
use only once, consider renting. Big home improvement stores have a large
selection of rentable power tools, all properly maintained and ready to go. Or
post a notice on your neighborhood group and ask if anyone would be willing to
lend out their shiny new circular saw for your next project.
Purchase materials and labor separately
When hiring a contractor, inquire upfront about material cost.
Specifically, ask if there will be a markup or if they will be sharing their
contractor's discount. If the former, ask for a list and buy the materials
yourself. Not only will this probably save you money, but you'll also know
exactly what you're getting rather than coming home to a lovingly installed
1970's avocado-green toilet.
If you're purchasing major appliances or materials for your home, check the
manufacturer's website or store fliers for rebates. Some manufacturers offer
rebates on surplus items as well as out-of-season items. Energy-saving
appliances also come with additional money-saving opportunities: utilities
costs. Utilities cost savings are the gift that keeps on giving; every month,
you can reap the benefits of a lower water and electricity bill, something you
will be happy about if you decide to refinance. Bonus: Check the IRS'
website to see if you're eligible for an energy-savings tax credit/deduction.
Regular maintenance can extend the life of your home's major systems. Simply
changing the filter on your furnace regularly can make this expensive appliance
last longer. Also, the occasional deep clean, debris removal, and visual
inspection can keep your home in working order and eliminate many costly home
repairs. If you notice a small issue during routine maintenance, deal with it
immediately rather than giving it time to become a larger, more costly one down