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What new homeowners should spend their money on
29 January 2020

Whether you are the proud owner of a new house or a seasoned contractor advising new clients, knowing exactly where to start makes all the difference to the settling in process. There are a number of tips and tricks for homeowners that can help with saving money that would otherwise be spent having someone else do the job for you. That being said, it’s important for homeowners to be able to establish which tasks can be carried out without assistance and when it is time to call in the professionals.

Homeownership comes with its fair share of responsibilities. Taking proper care of your home can require substantial work but this is essential in order to extend the longevity of your appliances and protect your home from structural damage.  It may feel as though home maintenance takes up all of your free time, especially in the summer when your garden demands attention too. It pays to exercise caution about how much you are taking on as too many additional DIY projects will lead to frustration, there are only twenty four hours in a day!

Make a list
Ask a contractor to make a list of all the things you need done in your home and work through this in order of urgency. Structural issues will need to be dealt with much more quickly than anything cosmetic. Triage those things that could cause extensive damage (like a leaking roof) so it is clear exactly what needs to take priority.

A basic budget should accompany each task so you can generate a rough idea of your outgoings and what is affordable. Be prepared for these figures to change, a contractor won’t know what lies beneath the surface of your home until work begins. Costs can increase if the original works lead to the discovery of further or more complicated structural issues.

Proceed with caution
Be realistic about your handy skills. Doing things yourself is easier on your wallet and can also be very rewarding but only proceed with the kinds of jobs you can manage without uncertainty. Health and Safety needs to be considered and you should never opt to do electric work without the necessary training and qualifications. A poorly executed plumbing job can be disastrous for your home so it’s best to outsource to a professional for this too.

Working at height is also something you should only take on with the relevant experience and understanding. Whether it’s on the roof or on a ladder, always work very carefully and make sure to wear the appropriate safety gear.

If you can, try to get ahead of potential problems—book in regular boiler health checks and replace a roof before leaks have a chance to cause damage.

If your home appliance is more than eight years old and would cost half as much to fix as to replace, it’s time to seriously consider an upgrade.

Is this your forever house?
Is this the home you will live in for the rest of your life? If so, there’s no reason not to invest in the renovations that will make your house feel like your home. Focus on improvements that will add value like smart home technology. These features can can help to run your home more efficiently, add to security and increase resale value if you do decide to move on.

Bathrooms and kitchens are key to securing a sale, so it’s a safe bet to put these rooms at the top of your renovation list. It’s also important to bear in mind that anything too extravagant may well price yourself out of your neighbourhood and prove to be an unwise use of your funds.

Shop around
When outsourcing a job, always get a more than one quote and remember that cheaper isn’t necessarily better. Word-of-mouth recommendations can be trusted the most, but most construction companies have reviews online and references that can help you choose the best contractor for your budget. When comparing quotes, be sure that they all include labour and materials.

Have a contract with your contractor. Plans change and shift with the availability of materials and the unforeseen issues onsite and misunderstandings are common. When you have a contract that is updated with every change, both you and your contractor are protected.

Should you DIY?
It may look easy on television but most of the time it really isn’t. DIY is hard work, it’s disruptive and it requires skills and perseverance. If you are new to DIY, take on small jobs at first—things you can finish in a weekend—and build up from there.

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