7 ways to avoid costly home repair surprises in 2022

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.

For many people, having to spend a lot of time at home can highlight flaws in their living conditions. Either we need to do a bit of remodeling to keep things up to date, or we need maintenance to keep things running smoothly.

Judging by how much we spend on home maintenance and renovations, we must notice a lot of flaws.

In the third quarter of 2021, the United States spent $ 357 billion on home improvements and repairs, reaching a planned total of $ 368 billion, according to the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies. from Harvard University. The program predicts the total will reach $ 400 billion by the end of 2022.

Are you one of the people planning home maintenance and repair projects? If so, chances are you don’t have a huge stash of cash in your home maintenance budget.

You can save pennies with the home maintenance and repair tips Penny Hoarders learned in 2021. We’ve put them together in this home maintenance and repair guide.

1. Don’t ignore calls for help from your home

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Your house can’t talk, but it can send you messages. If he calls for help, ignoring the message could cost you money later.

Don’t ignore home repairs and you’ll save money in the long run. Here are eight you can’t afford to procrastinate:

  1. Everything about water. A small wet spot could be a sign of a leak somewhere. Eventually, this leak will develop and possibly destroy floors, walls, furniture, etc. A leaking faucet, a running toilet, or a dripping water heater can cost more in water bills than repair.
  2. Everything about electricity. Flickering lights, faulty outlets or switches, tripping circuit breakers, and GFI outlets that will not reset can be signs of electrical problems that can lead to fires.
  3. Pests. Rodents and insects can do a lot of damage if left alone.
  4. Peeling, caulking and painting. Once the protective caulk or paint is gone, water penetrates and causes damage.
  5. Broken or defective HVAC. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) problems can mean you’re too sweaty or too cold. But variations in temperature inside the house can cause problems. Additional moisture could cause mold and cold temperatures could freeze the pipes.
  6. Cracks. Small cracks are normal. Large or changeable cracks are not.
  7. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Functional detectors save lives. Change the batteries regularly.
  8. Room darkening ceilings near fireplaces. Dark areas or a sooty smell can mean the fireplace is not pulling properly, which can let in lethal gases.

2. Monitor house maintenance

Senior man changing a bent dirty air filter in the HVAC furnace system in the basement of the house
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Maintenance is generally less expensive than repairs, so keeping track of the checks around your home can help you avoid a repair bill later. It is a good idea to determine the budget to allow for the maintenance of the house. Here are the things to consider:

  • Prevent moisture problems. Water can be bad when it appears in places it shouldn’t. Regularly check your gutters, sump pump, water heater, faucets, drains, septic tanks and irrigation systems.
  • Maintain appliances and equipment. Perform annual HVAC maintenance and change filters regularly. Check the connections in the laundry room and clean the dryer vent. Change filters and clean the kitchen hood.
  • Keep outside. Keep dirt away from the house so that the water can drain properly. Inspect the paint and siding to make sure they look good and protect your home. Hold the caulk around the openings. Inspect the chimneys. Maintenance of the electric garage door.

Financial experts recommend setting aside around $ 200 per month for home maintenance. That way, you’ll have $ 2,400 a year, which can hopefully cover maintenance and any repairs.

3. Know when to tinker and when to use a pro

Home repair
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Sometimes it is necessary to bring in the pros to tackle home maintenance or renovation projects.

Do you really want to tinker and regret it?

When deciding to DIY or hire a pro, ask yourself what experience you really have. Things often seem easier to do on TV or in a YouTube video than they actually are.

Experts say to avoid tinkering with anything related to electricity (especially 220 circuits) or water, unless you have experience. Things can go wrong very quickly.

4. Get offers for house projects

Woman looking at her insurance policy on a laptop
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If you need professional help with your home, getting quotes on home projects can save you a lot of money and time.

A professional handyman can do a wide variety of jobs like caulking, painting, cleaning gutters, repairing drywall, installing tiles, hanging objects, and installing light fixtures. Making a list of what you want to do can be helpful so that you can prioritize if you only have a handyman hired for a few hours.

When looking for the right expert for your home project:

  • Discover the project by watching videos. This will help you know if someone’s time estimate seems far away.
  • Request recommendations. Neighbors, friends and family often know good people who do a good job. Plus, real estate agents will be able to tell you who they recommend to prepare homes for sale.
  • Websites and apps make it easy to find who can do what you need. Some even allow you to post a request to have someone bid on your project.
  • Read reviews before hiring someone.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and discuss exactly what’s included in the estimate and payment terms. It is your house.

5. Do what you can to reduce your electricity bills

Table fan
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

There are some simple things that can help you lower your electric bill each month.

  • Seal cracks and leaks.
  • Switch to more energy efficient equipment.
  • Use fans.
  • Air-dry laundry as much as possible.
  • Switch to LED lighting.

You can also save on other utility bills by paying attention to your spending habits. For example, simple reductions in water use could mean savings on water bills.

6. Know what your home insurance covers

responsible adults saving money
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Disasters or repairs can ruin your budget. Home insurance can help protect your possessions and possessions against damage and loss. It also offers civil liability coverage.

But it is not always easy to know what is covered and what is not. And when is it worth filing a complaint?

Not all home insurance policies are created equal, and they can also vary widely depending on where you live and the type of housing. It’s important to understand when it can help you and when it can’t. Here is an article that will help you find out what home insurance covers.

7. Home buyers: don’t skip home inspections

Worker inspecting the roof of a house
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If you’re ready to dive into the world of homeownership or move into a new home, don’t get caught up in the excitement to the point of making a big mistake.

Following this eight-point home inspection checklist might end up throwing cold water on your plans, but it will also prevent buyer’s remorse if you’ve fallen in love with a money pit.

Inspectors examine more than 1,000 objects in a home. In general, these things are:

  • Structural components
  • Roof
  • Attic and insulation
  • HVAC systems
  • Plumbing and water
  • Electricity and wiring
  • Outside the house
  • Appliances

In today’s crazy real estate market, forgoing an inspection might make your offer more appealing to the seller, but the average inspection cost of $ 350 could save you thousands of dollars down the line.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation for clicking on links in our stories.

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