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Taming Home Maintenance Costs

When considering home maintenance costs one “Rule of Thumb” suggests that you set aside 1% of the value of your home as a repair budget. So if you live in Pennsylvania and you own a median priced home of $195,000 you should set aside $1,950 per year for repairs. This doesn’t mean that every year you will spend this much… one year it might be $500 for a new water heater and then next it might be $2,500 to get your house exterior painted but over the life of your home it should average out to that.

Unfortunately, calling in someone to make even basic repairs to your home can cost thousands of dollars. However, there are things that you can do to keep costs in check without watching your home waste away to nothing.

1) Learn How to Do Your Own Home Maintenance

woman-flooring-id-100430000While physical materials can cost enough, often it is the labor cost that drives professional repair bills so high. If you can learn to replace your own water heater or laminate floor, you can save a bundle on repairs. For instance, that $500 water heater might cost $350 at the local big box home repair center plus $150 to have one of their pros come out to install it. On the other hand if you call a plumber directly they may charge you $500 for the same heater plus $200 to install it. If you’ve never replaced a water heater before be sure to watch a couple of YouTube Videos on water heater replacement before getting started.

However, some things are best left to professionals. HVAC company Pacific Aire, Inc. recommends having a licensed and trained professional HVAC technician diagnose any Heating or Air Conditioning problem because of high voltages and flammable pressurized gasses contained in those systems..

2) Wise Use of Stopgap Measures

If money is really tight you might be tempted to fix a leaking pipe by using a clamp or a piece of electrical tape. However, if that results in your kitchen or bathroom flooding and damaging the carpet or floor it would cost you much more in the long run than fixing it right in the first place.

On the other hand, if you notice that your roof needs to be replaced, you might be able to postpone the inevitable by replacing a few missing or damaged shingles.

So the key is to be proactive and fix things before they cause more damage. Also be sure to set aside a repair fund so you won’t be stuck trying to repair a leak with electrical tape.

3) Should You Buy a Service Plan?

Rather than setting aside money some people prefer to buy a service plan or some sort of extended warranty on the major components of their home. Doing so may allow you to call a professional to make repairs or even replace a major part of your home for free or at a significantly reduced cost. Service plans may also include routine maintenance to keep everything working like it should. But the downside is that they usually have some sort of deductible, perhaps $100 per occurrence. Plus, you will need to get their approval before calling in the pro and they will generally choose who gets called.

This is obviously not for the handyman type but could be a good solution for someone who doesn’t know a hammer from a wrench or for someone who isn’t physically able to make their own repairs.

4) Financing Options

When you have to call pros like HVAC companies, see if they offer financing or other payment plans. This may enable you to replace your duct work or have your current air conditioning unit repaired and pay the expense over time. Just be sure to check on the terms they are offering to be sure they are reasonable.

Maintaining your home is mandatory for as long as you own it. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, it is your responsibility to provide yourself and anyone else who lives there a safe and comfortable experience. Therefore, make it a point to connect with contractors or learn how to keep home maintenance costs manageable on all of your home improvement projects.

Photo provided courtesy of Radnatt and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+