How to Save Money on Major Home Repairs
It’s time for a necessary home repair. Problems such as foundation issues, sinking concrete, sump pump failures—you name it!—can sneak up on us.
Heck, even if you’ve known for a while that an expense was coming, why pay more than you have to? The best thing you can do is be informed.
Fix It Early
It goes without saying: The smaller the issue, the easier the fix and, consequently, the lower the cost. The crack under your egress window can be quickly diagnosed and repaired. But add some rain to the picture, and the crack opens up, water flows into your basement and you’ve suddenly multiplied your expenses—and maybe even wrecked something priceless in the process.
Think of it like your car. It’s less expensive to change the oil regularly than replace your engine, right? The same thing goes for home maintenance. Unfortunately, your home doesn’t come with a check-engine light. But think of a sticking window, sloping floor or wall crack as a sign there is a problem.
Your home won’t repair itself. However, we can tell you that the sooner you diagnose and repair a problem, the easier it will be on your bank account in the long run.
Be Ready to Make a Decision
Often, contracting businesses take a no-haggle approach with homeowners. But in the absence of negotiating, they do offer discounts.
Some businesses offer same-day savings, because it helps them run more efficiently. That’s because if you wait to make your decision, another inspection may be needed. Which means sending out another person, using more gas, putting additional miles on a company car, etc.
If a company offers same-day savings, you should seriously consider it. Every day, homeowners miss out on 5% off a project that’s $10,000 or more simply because they weren’t ready to make a decision. By the way, 5% of $10,000 is $500. Not a small amount of money to anyone.
Pay Attention to Financing Options
In addition to paying cash, there are other ways to finance a home-repair project, including personal loans, home equity loans or lines of credit or using a credit card.
Sometimes interest rates are low, which helps keep the total cost of borrowing down. But other factors to consider include how low you’d like your monthly payments to be and how long you want to carry the debt.
Also, it’s a good idea to ask the contractor if there is a benefit to financing with them directly, such as paying no interest for a certain period of time or receiving a discount on the total cost of the project.
Only Fix It Once
There’s only one way to make sure you don’t need to fix an issue again, and that’s getting it done right the first time. Yes, we know this seems obvious, but hear us out. Google “bad contractor,” then immerse yourself in the hundreds of stories about the homeowners who were “taken advantage of” and “never thought it would happen” to them. Unfortunately, there are bad actors in the home repair industry. Sometimes, it’s intentional. Other times, it’s a well-meaning effort, but they simply didn’t know what they were doing.
The solution? Pick the business that you know will do it right the first time. Not the cheapest. Not the fastest. Pick the one who will stand behind their work.
Lastly, hire a specialist for the type of repair you need instead of a general contractor or handyman. Read reviews. See how the company interacts with its customers online. Ask how long they’ve been in business, what training they’ve completed and how many homes they’ve fixed. And always ask about the warranty and what happens to it if they go out of business.
As you can see, by following a few simple rules, you can make sure you not only get your home fixed right, but you can sleep well knowing you’ve actually saved money in the long run.