Being a homeowner means being responsible for everything that goes wrong with your home. Whether it is the air conditioning system failing or burst pipes, you are held accountable for the problem and, of course, for the repairs afterwards.
That isn’t to say that the responsibilities outweigh the benefits of owning a home, but being prepared for life’s little accidents can make owning a home considerably less stressful. Insurance, of course, is your first step. You wouldn’t drive your car without insurance, you shouldn’t own a home without a comprehensive policy that allows you to recoup your investment in the case of major disaster and helps repair smaller problems.
Familiarity Is Important
Many of the preventable problems that crop up are the result of home improvement projects. Prior to starting any project, you should familiarize yourself with the potential problems that could arise.
The experts at Restoration Elite said, “Don’t underestimate the complexity of a project. If halfway through you run up against something you don’t understand it is too late to stop. You need to be prepared for all possibilities.”
All projects require preparation, and it should begin before you pick up the first tool:
- Research your project. In addition to self-help books, many of the larger home improvement stores offer classes on common ‘do-it-yourself’ projects. Inexpensive and informative, these classes can be a priceless asset.
- Write down what you want to accomplish. Write down the specific goals you have, that way you know the scope of the project you have and when to stop.
- Limit your project. Unless you are completing renovating your home or repairing it after a major problem, you need to limit your project to keep it from getting out of hand.
- Make sure you are covered. Check your insurance policy before beginning your project, you want to ensure that your policy will cover any damage that could be the result of your changes or improvements.
- Have an expert on standby. Home improvements and repairs are relatively simple, but it is good to know the name and number of the experts in case your project goes wrong.
Since most plumbing, electrical or heating/air conditioning systems are interrelated, a minor change can have larger ramifications. For the sake of your project and peace of mind, make sure that the changes you make will not be detrimental.
Not All Experts Are Created Equal
When it comes to home improvement projects, it is easy to rely on the advice of friends and family, whether they have knowledge about the subject or not. The tendency to seek advice based on how likely they are to agree with your assessment is difficult to overcome, but when it comes to your home, you should get out of your comfort zone and talk to people who deal with home repairs on a steady basis.
The manager of the local Plumbing Fix states, “We get a lot of calls to fix home improvement projects. Sometimes the project just gets out of hand and the homeowner creates a problem that he can’t solve.”
Being able to step back and honestly look at whether you can do a project or not will save you time, money and having to call an expert for repairs and cleanup. No one can be an expert in all things and knowing your limitations can prevent a disaster.