Home Repairs and Maintenance: Advice for New Homeowners

When you buy your first home, there are ​many expenses​ you aren’t likely to consider, and home maintenance and repairs may be on this list. It is easy to get into your new house and assume that it’s in perfect condition. But, even new construction homes must be maintained. Failure to take preventative measures or letting small issues go can turn into a major problem that can bust your budget.

Here are a few considerations new homeowners should keep in mind when it comes to protecting this valuable asset.

  • Create an emergency fund. ​Generation X Finance recommends ​saving 10 percent​ of your monthly mortgage specifically for home maintenance and repairs. This will help cover the cost of unexpected issues, such as a busted dishwasher or suddenly dysfunctional garage door. It will also ensure you have cash available for routine maintenance on the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, you will also have to upkeep these items.
  • Understand your home insurance. ​If you’re thinking home insurance will cover anything that pops up, you are very wrong. While having homeowner’s insurance is essential, these policies do have limitations. Electronic damage caused by ​power surges triggered by a power outage is one example of coverage that doesn’t apply to homeowner’s insurance. Mold, sewage backup, and natural disasters are also usually not covered. Further, as Braden Insurance Agency points out, insurance also does not cover problems that arise ​due to neglect​.
  • Know what your contractor does and doesn’t do. ​When you decide that your home needs any type of renovation, you’ll want to work with a licensed and insured contractor. But even the most thorough and best-intentioned of these may not provide all the services you expect. For example, some contractors do not routinely pull ​building permits​ for small projects. Codes compliance is different from one county to the next, however, so things that don’t require a permit in one area might in another. Something else your contractor may not do is fully clean up while work is being completed. A good contractor will keep things as neat as possible, but they can’t possibly remove all of the ​dust and debris​ that may settle throughout your home during the renovation process. Plan to budget for a self-storage unit where you can put away any valuables while your home is being repaired. Storage units in and around Dublin, OH, can be pricey, but if you shop around, you can find deals. For example, you can rent a 5’x10’ unit for ​under $40​.

Common home repairs, renovations, and maintenance tasks

Your new home is a continuous project, and it will keep you busy. A few of the most common repairs, renovations, and routine maintenance tasks you might encounter include:

●  Sealing/staining wood deck

●  Roof repair or ​replacement​ (costs an average of ​$6,750​ nationally)

●  HVAC system tune-up

●  Appliance repairs

●  Replace cracked or broken tile on the floor

●  Leaky toilet

●  Hot water heater replacement

Choosing a contractor

It’s tempting to do the vast majority of work yourself. After all, you’ll save money, right? Maybe not. A faulty repair can end up costing more than if you had contacted an expert from the beginning. But ​finding a good contractor​ isn’t always easy. It is not a matter of just calling the first person available. You will want to check references, ask to see their license and insurance, and scour the internet for reviews. Ask your contractor if they will pull permits for the work – if they discourage it, it’s time to find a new service provider.As you can see, there is much more to owning a home than moving in your furniture. Home maintenance is an important responsibility. It pays to have at least a fundamental understanding of what you face, and to put some money aside for both the expected and the unexpected.

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