Home Maintenance and Repair
Taking some time to do a little research now about your home’s maintenance needs could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs and headaches. The sites in this section can teach you about some maintenance and repairs common to most homes, and what you should be doing (and when) to keep your home functioning properly year-round.
- Remember to consider the region in which you live when you learn about your home’s maintenance requirements. If you live in a humid climate, for example, you might need to pay more attention to potential mold problems, whereas a homeowner in a particularly cold climate should be more focused on winter home maintenance.
- Your state’s home builders’ association might be able to offer you some advice. Search for state contact information at the National Association of Home Builders Web site.
- If you rent an apartment or a house, it’s likely that your landlord takes care of most necessary repairs. Make sure you fully understand the provisions of your lease agreement to be sure you know whether it’s okay for you to make any repairs yourself, or how you should proceed in the event something goes wrong in your rental.
- If you have a prefab home, the company that built your home may provide maintenance information on its Web site.
If you’ve got the time and the skills necessary to complete a home repair project yourself, you’ll likely save a little money that otherwise would have been spent on hiring a contractor to do the job. Unless the job you’re doing is a relatively simple one, it might be a good idea to turn to some trustworthy sites on the Web to make sure you fully understand the particulars of performing a home repair project yourself.
- If you ask for advice on a message board, remember that the responses you’ll find there might not be from an expert. Take any suggestions you receive with the appropriate grain of salt.
- Many Web sites that sell tools and parts for home repair also post instructions for various repair projects.
- If the repairs necessary for your home appear that they may be extensive enough to require a remodel, see our findingDulcinea Home Remodeling Web Guide for more assistance.
Whether you’re too busy or lack the skills required to complete a home repair yourself, you want to make sure you’re employing the best people possible who will get the job done right. Use the Web sites in this section to learn what you need to know about finding and hiring a contractor.
- When you’re looking up contractors online, it’s a good idea to check any professional you find against the records of the Better Business Bureau Web site, which displays any complaints consumers have made against a company or individual.
- Different states have different licensing requirements for contractors. To see what is required of a contractor in your state, and to find a licensed contractor where you live, go to the Contractor’s License Reference Site.
- Word of mouth referrals are another good way to go when you’re thinking about hiring a contractor. Once you’ve received a few recommendations from your friends or acquaintances, check for those contractors online to see if they have a Web site (preferably with photos of work they’ve done).
- If you’re not sure what contractors are available where you live, try typing “home maintenance companies” and your city name into your favorite search engine.
The cost of home repairs can be hard to estimate with much precision, but we’ve rounded up some online estimating tools to help you plan your budget. Use these estimating tools for other financial considerations you must take into account, especially if your repairs or maintenance projects are substantial.
- Remember that any cost-estimating tools you use on the Web will provide just that: estimates. The actual cost of your project depends on a variety of factors, such as the exact size and scope of the repairs, the quality of the materials used, and even the state in which you live.