There are many ways to save money on home repairs if you are willing to be open to some DIY projects, comfortable asking for help, and eager to do some research.
If you’re intimidated by the list of repairs your home needs, and you aren’t sure where to begin, never fear! In this article, we will explore several different ways to save money when tackling repairs around your home.
DIY Your Home Repair Project
The DIY route is probably the first thing that comes to mind when saving money on home repairs. However, it may also be the first thing you dismiss if you don’t consider yourself particularly “handy.”
The misconception with DIY is that you must do the entire project by yourself from start to finish. While that would save you the most money, you can also have DIY be just a step in your process.
- If you are a DIY rockstar and your project feels like something you’re comfortable completing, you certainly could do the entire thing yourself.
- If you’re a DIY newbie, start small by painting a room or tiling a small area to gain confidence before moving on to a large home project on your own.
Depending on your comfort level with the project, you could do certain parts yourself and outsource the more complex work.
For example, if you are redoing a kitchen or bathroom, you could consider demolishing yourself and hiring a contractor to finish the job.
Do Some Research on Home Repair
Whether you have chosen to DIY or hire contractors to complete your home repair, you need to do some research before you begin. Researching beforehand will help you set appropriate expectations for timelines, cost, materials required, and other important considerations.
The internet will be your best friend if you plan to DIY the project. Watch YouTube videos, read Pinterest tutorials, and read articles about the type of project you are tackling. This will help you identify what you need for materials, tools, and time to complete the repair.
If you are hiring contractors, identify a few options and look at their reviews online. You can also ask local community boards or friends and family for a referral. It’s recommended to interview a few different contractors to get cost estimates and make sure you find the right fit for your project.
Set a Home Repair Budget
Budgeting is key to a successful home project of any kind. Ideally, you should be setting aside money monthly to allow for home repairs or projects. In addition, this money should be easily accessible and not tied up in complex investment accounts in case of an emergency.
The amount you should set aside will vary based on your income and the age and size of your home: typically, $100-$300 a month is a good place to start for most people.
When you identify a home repair or project that you want to tackle, set a budget for it. Make sure it’s an amount you can stick to and allow for some room for a cushion in case you discover something else that needs attention in the process.
Once you have your budget, ensure you have access to the money from your emergency home repair fund or personal bank accounts. Then, make sure you have enough to pay for any contractors, tools, and materials that you will need to avoid any project delays.
Ask for Help with Your Home Repair
If you’ve identified a big-ticket home repair like plumbing, roofing, HVAC, or electrical work, go to your network first before starting from scratch Googling contractors. You may be surprised at who you know within your circle of friends and family who can help.
Whether it’s your brother-in-law, an HVAC technician, or your coworker’s husband, who is an electrician, you can save a lot of money by asking them to help with your project.
Of course, be choosy about who you ask so it doesn’t affect your relationship, but this is a great home repair strategy.
You may have to wait longer for your project to be completed because they will be working on your project on their “off-time” from their regular jobs, usually nights and weekends. However, if you don’t have a hard deadline for completion, it may be worth going this route if it’s an option.
Another perk of having a contractor friend work on these large repairs with you is that you may be able to take advantage of discounts on materials or tools by purchasing things through them “at cost” rather than marked up at a big box retailer.
Plan Home Renovations Around Major Sales
If you know that you will want to redo a large portion of your home that will require a large purchase, like appliances for a kitchen or bathroom, try to time your renovation timeline around when retailers have sales.
It’s no secret that most stores have sales on big-ticket items, including appliances and tools, a few times a year. These sales are usually around the 4th of July, Thanksgiving (Black Friday), and after Christmas. Sign up for emails at your favorite store so you can be alerted of sales.
If your project is not time-sensitive, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by timing your project around these sales and purchasing your appliances, materials, or tools at a discount. Consider this an excellent strategy if you pay for your renovation in cash.
Pay for Your Home Repair in Cash
Paying for your home repair in cash is such a great way to save money. Of course, this isn’t always possible depending on the type of repair and the cost associated, but if you can pay in cash, it is always the best option.
The most important reason to pay cash is to save on any interest or fees you may incur by using credit cards or personal loans. Home repairs are expensive enough on their own, and you don’t need to pay additional fees on top of that.
Another perk of paying cash is that if you are hiring contractors, they may give you a cash discount if you ask. Home repair contractors are often small businesses that may have to pay fees to process credit cards, so they may give you a break on the price if you pay in cash.
Hire Apprentice Contractors
If you are looking to have a major home repair done that in your home involves a skilled trade contractor like an electrician, plumber, or HVAC technician, you may be able to hire an apprentice contractor for a lower rate.
Some local schools and programs train for these trades in almost every area. If you reach out to these schools, they may be able to put you in contact with some of their trainees who can do the work at a lower rate or even for free as a part of their training.
Another way to hire an apprentice contractor for your home repair project would be to reach out to a reputable company that provides the service you want. Ask them if they have any apprentices looking to gain experience and try to negotiate the cost.
Space Out Your Home Repairs Over Time
If you know that you must make specific repairs on your home over the next few months or years, plan to space them out at intervals that financially make sense for your budget. If the repairs aren’t an emergency, this is a great way to spread out the cost.
Some ways to do this are to do a project every few months or every quarter or even one per year. The frequency can be adjusted to match your lifestyle, budget, and preferences. Having a plan ahead of time will help you save time and money.
Use Recycled Materials Whenever Possible
As you prepare for your repair or renovation, look at what you are making changes to and identify what you can keep or repurpose. It can be tempting to want to purchase all new things to complete a project, but you’d be surprised at how much can be salvaged.
Something as simple as a fresh coat of paint, changing out hardware, or just using something differently can save you a lot of money when making big changes around your home.
Also, if you are careful during demolition, you could reuse many building materials. With the cost of materials up, this could make a massive difference to your repair budget. For example, reusing plywood, shingles, tiles, and more could help you complete your project without breaking the bank.
You could also check local yard sales, junkyards, or even Facebook Marketplace for people selling building materials. Often, DIYers and contractors will sell off materials like wood and tile that they didn’t end up needing. It is a perfect idea if you need a small amount of something.
Spend Your Home Repair Budget Wisely
Once you’ve identified a home repair project that you want to complete and have a list of everything you need to do, please go through the list. Figure out where it makes sense to spend and where to cut.
There will inevitably be some parts of your project that require you to splurge a bit, but some areas of lower priority don’t need the top-of-the-line items. Locate areas where you want to spend more would be high traffic areas and items seen or used frequently.
By mixing in some higher-end items where it matters and cutting back on the areas that are less important or won’t be seen can help you save money while still completing the home repair. Shop sale racks, discount stores, and even secondhand stores to find great deals.
Fix Things in Your Home Before They Break
If you notice that something is beginning to fall into disrepair around your home, try your best to fix it before it breaks on its own.
If you maintain things consistently in your home, you have the best chance of just having the fix the problem itself and not fix more issues.
I’m sure you’ve experienced going to fix something like a leaky faucet that has been leaking slowly for months, only to find out that the slow leak also caused a mold problem under the sink that now needs fixing, too. These are the things that you avoid by getting to projects quickly.
If you take care of your home and fix problems before they become major repairs, you won’t spend as much money over time trying to chase a long list of projects that need your attention.
Image by Zivica Kerkez