*This is a collaborative post.
All homes suffer from wear and tear. Even if you’re not a homeowner, you may still have to deal with furniture and appliance repairs. Such repairs can be expensive – many people end up resorting to loans. Below are a few tips for making home repairs more affordable.
Set aside a rainy day fund
A rainy day fund is a savings account used to dip into in the event of an emergency. Every household can benefit from having a rainy day fund set aside. On top of home repairs, it could be used to pay for various other emergencies such as car repairs, dental treatment and vet bills.
Try to contribute to this account every month and keep going until you’ve got at least a thousand pounds in here. Whenever you dip into these savings, try to then top them back up. It’s worth also looking for a high interest account that will accumulate some earnings on its own.
A rainy day fund will prevent you from having to resort to loans as regularly. This saves you money in interest payments in the future.
Put your DIY skills to the test
There are some home repairs that can be easily done oneself. This includes everything from unblocking the u-bend in a sink to planing down a sticking door.
You can usually learn what you need to know from reading how-to blog posts or watching Youtube tutorials. Some of these guides may also offer a difficulty level so that you know whether it’s within your capability.
Doing these repairs yourself could save you a lot of money. Just make sure that you’re not spending lots of money on tools. Refinishing your own hardwood floor might save you money hiring a pro, but you don’t want to spend hundreds on tools in the process unless you’re going to be using them again in the future.
Make sure to steer clear of home repair tasks that could be dangerous. Besides a few basic repair tasks, it’s best to avoid the majority of electrical and plumbing work and hire a pro – you don’t want to flood your house or start a house fire because of a small mistake.
Rely on your close network
If you’re not DIY-savvy, consider whether you know anyone who is. You may be able to hire a friend or family member to do the job cheaply or even for free.
You may even know people who have professional handyman experience. If you need to fix a leaky tap and you know someone that works as a plumber, consider asking them to take a look at it. You may be able to pay reduced ‘mate’s rates’.
Shop around for repair quotes
If you do decide to hire a pro, don’t go with the first quote you receive. For many big repair jobs, it’s worth trying to get multiple quotes – you could find that some professionals offer cheaper rates than others.
Look out for professionals that may be offering discounts on their website or social media pages. Certain times of the year can be great for shopping for discounts on certain repairs. For example, a lot of heating repair companies slash their prices in summer when such repairs are less in demand (if you notice that there’s a problem then, consider getting it done before autumn approaches).
Some professionals may offer interest-free payment plans. This could allow you to spread out the cost of the repair without having to rely on a loan.
Invest in home maintenance
You may be able to delay wear and tear by taking various measures to maintain your home.
A good example is outdoor wooden furniture. If such furniture isn’t cared for, it may eventually peel and rot. Make sure that you’re annually applying new weatherproof treatments to your furniture. This will reduce damage and you’ll be able to use your furniture longer before needing to replace it.
In some cases, it could be worth investing in professional servicing to keep certain things in good condition. For example, it’s worth having someone service your boiler annually – any small problems may be able to be detected early. Air conditioning units should similarly be inspected once per year.
Consider taking out insurance
You may be able to reduce the cost of home repairs by taking out certain forms of insurance.
Homeowner’s insurance tends to be worthwhile for protecting against repairs that are the result of unprecedented disasters such as a flood, fire or burglary. While the risk of such disasters is low, the potential damage could be very high – having insurance in places means that you won’t have to reach into your own pocket to pay for recovery.
You could also look into a home warranty. This can cover general wear and tear throughout the year, which could include everything from roof damage to broken appliances. Such repairs typically aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance.
Check that you haven’t already got warranties on certain items such as appliances you bought recently or renovations that were made a couple years ago. Many furniture/appliance stores and tradesman service offer free warranties for a couple years. After this, you’ll usually have to pay for an extended warranty to continue your coverage, at which point it may be cheaper to simply use a home warranty.
Know when it’s time to replace
You should avoid fixing things that are going to continue to break regularly in the near future. In many cases, it could be a better investment to replace these broken items.
For instance, if your washing machine keeps breaking down and you have to keep paying professionals to come out and fix it, consider whether it’s time for a new washing machine. If it’s an old appliance, it’s likely that it has reached the end of its life and parts will just keep breaking no matter how careful you are with the machine.
Roofing is another common example. Small cracks and broken tiles can be individually fixed, but you need to consider the overall condition of the roof. If you keep having to call out a roofing specialist to patch up leaks in your roof, consider whether you’d be better off investing in a new roof.
Make practical décor choices
A lot of home repairs can be avoided by being practical with your choices of decor. Think about your lifestyle – certain decor choices could turn out to be a bad choice.
A good example is if you have pets or kids. There’s a higher chance your carpet or furniture may get damaged if you don’t take measures to protect it. Placing down rugs and mats in strategic areas as well as protecting sofas with machine-washable throws can prevent damage to your carpets and furniture.
Alternatively, you should consider whether it’s worth investing in hardier solutions. A laminate wooden floor could be easier to clean and less prone to damage than a carpet. Similarly a leather or microfiber sofa may be better than a soft fabric sofa.
If you do need to borrow, choose the right loan option
Borrowing is something you should try to avoid. Unfortunately, for some large repairs, you may have no choice but to borrow money. In these cases, you need to shop around for the right loan.
If you’re a homeowner and it’s a building repair, weigh up the cost of adding to your current mortgage or taking out a separate home loan. The former may work out cheaper.
Repair companies may offer finance deals in some cases. Enquire about these when shopping around for loans.