How You Can DIY Your Way to Cheaper Home Maintenance

You’d be surprised how some very easy tasks can end up saving you tons of money in home repair costs over the long run.

Our house, in the middle of the street. Our house, we should have built it somewhere else.

Cars won’t stop hitting our house. It’s what happens, when that house is in the street.

That’s right, folks. Whether your house is in the middle of the street or in one of the thousands of better locations to have a house, it’s going to need regular maintenance and repairs. And that can get very expensive—like “taking out an installment loan” expensive.

But what if … you could do that maintenance on your own? You’d be able to save a lot of money! So is it time to grab your tools and start hitting various parts of your home with a hammer?

Not so fast! Certain tasks should be left up to a professional. We spoke to the experts to find out what tasks you can handle on your own—plus how to pull off the job—and which should be left to the pros.


Making a list, checking it (probably more than) twice.

Before you decide which tasks you can handle on your own and which you’ll need to bring a professional in for, you should make a list of all of the tasks that need to be done.

“I rehab houses and spend a lot of my time making expensive repairs for items that could have been avoided by homeowners with simple scheduled maintenance,” advised home flipper Robert Taylor.

“Every homeowner needs a schedule to remind them of when to do their maintenance items and then to make sure that they actually do them. Putting maintenance tasks on a calendar or scheduling them for specific times during the year can help to make sure they don’t get forgotten.”

John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada (@HomeZada), echoed the need to make a list and schedule:

“The first thing to know about performing your own maintenance is itemizing all the preventative maintenance tasks your home requires in a recurring schedule, as many items are seasonal or have a recommended frequency for how many times to perform the tasks over the course of the year.

“This is important because what is required for your home oftentimes depend on where your home is located, the seasonal weather where you live, and the age of your home and its equipment and building materials.

“Once you have this schedule, then you can determine whether you are able to do these yourself. Most consumers can perform a majority of the preventative maintenance tasks their home requires themselves, even with perhaps searching for a quick video on how to do something.”

So what are some of those tasks you can perform on your own?

Join the winterization nation.

When it comes to the seasonal maintenance to get your home ready for winter, there are quite a few tasks you can do on your own. And that’s good because if you live in a place with winter, winterizing has to be done every year.

Here are some tasks you can do on your own before the fall ends, from Zach Hendrix, co-founder of GreenPal (@YourGreenPal):

“Aerate and overseed turf to make sure you’ll have a great looking lawn next year. Clear those gutters on the roof to avoid all kinds of problems like wood rotting along the roof line. Winterize your irrigation system and pool if you have one. Failing to get this done before your first frost could cost you thousands. Remove any dead annuals from your landscape beds.”

“Performing these home maintenance tips in the winter time will save you thousands of dollars in preventative maintenance repair costs.” You can read more about home winterization in our blog post, Winterizing Your Home: How To Prep for Winter on the Cheap.

Prevent an HVAC attack.

Managing your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is probably not the first home maintenance task you think about, but it is a vital one. And it’s one you probably don’t need a professional to manage!

“Changing your HVAC filter is not only a very important task, but most homeowners can outsource it to their child, it’s that easy,” Jonathan Faccone, founder of Halo Homebuyers L.L.C., told us, “It’s a must if you want to keep your furnace operating efficiently and preserve its overall life-span. Many people tend to forget or overlook this important maintenance item which can actually invalidate your system’s warranty if not kept up.”

But that’s not all. Faccone gave us two other suggestions of home maintenance tasks you can do on your own:

“Painting is a task that I believe most homeowners are comfortable doing. If you screw up with a wrong color or a shaky hand, the consequences are certainly not disastrous. There is certainly an art to successfully completing a professional looking paint job. However, after watching a few good Youtube videos on technique and a little practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

“Another overlooked maintenance item is making sure all the hinges and metal on metal contact points of your garage doors are well lubricated. This item is recommended every 6 months to keep your garage door operating efficiently and prevent any serious repairs in the future. Home Depot carries garage door-specific lubrication products which you can choose from, and it takes only about five minutes to complete.”

Know when to call in the pros.

Even if you see yourself as a DIY Dragon, some tasks should really be left to the professionals. What are some of those tasks? Oh, you know we asked the experts about that!

“Most basements in homes over 50 years old have some form of asbestos, whether it’s insulation on air-ducts or asbestos tiles on the floor,” warned Jeff Miller, real estate agent and owner of AE Home Group (@aehomegroup) in Maryland.

“While it is legal in many states for homeowners to personally conduct abatement in their own homes, it is something that is best left to the professionals. These professionals have expensive equipment like negative pressure air units to ensure that every asbestos particle is removed from the home. By conducting a DIY abatement, you open yourself up to potential health risks in the future.”

But asbestos isn’t the only thing you shouldn’t be inhaling.

“Mold is a common issue that should be left to the professionals,” recommended Evan Roberts, real estate agent and renovation expert with Dependable Homebuyers in Baltimore, MD. “While a DIY homeowner can address the symptoms of mold by scrubbing with bleach, replacing drywall, and setting up a dehumidifier, these solutions are only temporary and do not get to the root of the problem.

“Professional mold remediation experts understand the extensive ways that moisture can enter a home and apply their professional experience to determine a permanent solution.”

“We were renovating a house with mold and couldn’t figure out how water was entering the house. We extended downspouts and sealed the basement walls but water was still finding its way into the basement.

“We called out an expert who went out front and pointed at a tree stump in the yard. Over time the roots had decayed and rabbits had extended these voids to create tunnels to the home. Rainwater would store up and have a direct path into the basement. After removing the stump and compacting the ground we no longer had any water or mold issues.”

Finally, here are some more tasks that Faccone advises against handling on your own:

“Home items that the homeowner should leave to the professionals are ones that pose a safety risk or can cause major damage to the house if not done the proper way. These items include plumbing, carpentry, and electrical related tasks. If you are not comfortable using certain tools and have never had any experience with these items, it’s best to leave it to those who do.”

Go forth and make those repairs.

Now you should have a sense of what you can and can’t tackle on your own. Grab your hammer and go! Just make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew (Also don’t, um, chew your house.)

Getting stuck in costly repairs is how people end up running through their savings and being forced take out short-term bad credit loans and no credit check loans—like cash advances, title loans, and payday loans—during times of financial emergency.

Saving money through DIY home repairs is great, so long as you know your limits. In the meantime, want to find out some other ways you can save money? Check out these related posts from OppLoans:

What are your best tips for DIY home maintenance? We want to hear from you! You can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit OppLoans on YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIN | Google+


Contributors

John Bodrozic is a co-founder of HomeZada (@HomeZada), an online and mobile home management solution. HomeZada strives to educate and provide resources for homeowners in all areas of home management, including home inventory, home maintenance, home finances, and home improvement projects.
Jonathan Faccone is the managing member and founder of Halo Homebuyers L.L.C., a New Jersey and Eastern PA real estate development and investment company with a team of experts with collectively over 30 years of experience. He is also a referral agent through Keller Williams Realty.
Zach Hendrix is a Ruby on Rails developer and UX professional. He is Co-Founder of GreenPal (@YourGreenPal), an online marketplace connecting homeowners with local landscape maintenance professionals.
Jeff Miller is a real estate agent and owner of AE Home Group (@aehomegroup) in Maryland.
Evan Roberts grew up in Towson and now lives in Upper Fells with his girlfriend Michelle and their lovable dog, Mia. He has a proven track record as a homebuyer and loves helping educate homeowners on the current real estate climate. If you’re looking for a trustworthy professional who can answer all your toughest questions, then Evan is your man!
Robert Taylor rehabs and flips homes in the greater Sacramento area.  During the past 12 years, he has bought, remodeled and flipped scores of houses with code enforcement issues, houses needing repair, unwanted inherited houses, and difficult rental properties.