The importance of creating a ‘Money Bucket’ for home maintenance was the focus in last week’s Smart Money Tip. Today, I want to share how to hire a contractor for things like landscaping, home repairs, a new roof, and other major maintenance projects.
I am lucky to have a husband who has learned how to do small home repair projects. I admit that most of his knowledge came from trial and error. I’ll never forget one of Mark’s first home maintenance attempts. He tried to install a humidifier but ended up with a mini flood in the furnace room. Now he knows his maintenance limits and what to leave for the experts.
Mark’s Golden Rule:
Leave gas and electrical repairs to the experts!
We recently had a bad roof leak that was causing water damage in my daughter’s bedroom. We contacted our local handyman who tried to repair the roof, but it failed. We were afraid we would have to get a new roof. Ka-ching!
Thankfully, we found a very honest roofer who suggested a $500 roof repair today and then plan to replace the entire roof in about five years for around $14,000.
We had been considering replacing the roof since it didn’t match too well after our last home addition, so we chose to ignore the mismatch for a few more years and save funds in our brokerage account for the new roof.
Saving now and doing projects later means you need to estimate how much the cost will be in the future – not now. When planning for our new roof, we made sure to budget an additional $2,000 for inflation.
As anyone who has required the assistance of a contractor knows, hiring the right one can sometimes be a challenge. Below are some ways to protect your investment:
- Get a referral: Just as you would when hiring an attorney, CPA, or looking for a good doctor, make sure you get a referral. In the case of our needing a new roof, we spoke to neighbors and builders in our neighborhood who had used the company.
- Get more than one quote: Check around to ensure you are getting the best price from the best contractor.
- Follow your gut instinct and don’t feel pressured: Most people usually get an immediate feeling from a person. Trust this feeling. You will get a sense of a person in the first few seconds after you meet them – way before the sales presentation begins.
- Make sure everything is in writing: Get the details of the job in writing so there’s no misunderstanding later.
- Make a deposit ONLY: Don’t pay in full until the job is complete. This gives you leverage so you ensure that the job was done right.
Having a Money Bucket for home repairs and basic maintenance is a sure way to keep your investment in tip-top shape.
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