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Owning a home in Toronto has always been expensive, but the recent bout of inflation has been particularly hard on homeowners. Higher interest rates have led to higher mortgage payments and everything from utilities to home furnishings to home service professionals has gotten more expensive. But as home values take a (let’s-hope-it’s-temporary) hit, it’s more important than ever to maintain and repair your home to protect its long-term value. Here are 12 ways to save money on home repairs and maintenance:
One of the easiest ways to save money on home repairs and maintenance is to tackle some tasks yourself. While it’s always a good idea to hire a professional for certain repairs (don’t even think of touching the electrical), there are many tasks that you can do on your own with a little guidance and the right tools. Most people -with a little help from Youtube – can easily learn to fix a leaky faucet, paint a room, or replace a broken tile. Not only will you save money on labour costs, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you did the work yourself. Just be sure to do your research and follow proper safety precautions to avoid any accidents.
Before hiring a contractor or buying materials, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare prices. This can be especially helpful for large or expensive projects, as the cost can vary significantly from one company or retailer to another. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and ask for discounts, especially if you’re planning on hiring a contractor for multiple tasks. It’s also a good idea to get multiple quotes from different contractors to ensure you’re getting a fair price.
Watch for Promotions and Discounts
Another way to save money on home repairs and maintenance is to take advantage of special promotions or discounts. Many retailers and contractors offer discounts to attract clients, and the prices of many home goods fluctuate according to a fairly predictable seasonal schedule. Need new appliances? September to December are typically when new appliance models are released, and older models go on sale. Hiring a contractor to redo your bathroom or kitchen? The spring and summer months are usually their busiest time – you’ll have better success negotiating rates if you renovate in the fall or winter. Planning a new IKEA kitchen? The IKEA kitchen sale events are legendary – and can save you up to 20%. Sign up for newsletters or follow your favourite retailers, designers and contractors on social media to stay updated on the latest deals and promotions.
Buy in Bulk
If you’re planning on tackling multiple projects around your home, it can be more cost-effective to buy materials in bulk. Many retailers offer discounts for bulk purchases, so it’s worth checking to see if you can save money by buying more. Just be sure to only buy what you need and have a plan for storing the excess materials to avoid waste.
Use Energy-Efficient Products
Another way to save money on home repairs and maintenance is to invest in energy-efficient products. These products can help reduce your energy consumption and lower your monthly bills, ultimately saving you money in the long run. Some examples of energy-efficient products for the home include LED light bulbs, Energy Star appliances, and low-flow showerheads.
Keep up With Regular Maintenance
One of the best ways to save money on home repairs and maintenance is to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Regular maintenance tasks, such as cleaning gutters, replacing air filters, and inspecting the roof, can help prevent larger issues down the line. By taking care of small problems before they turn into big ones, you can save money on costly repairs and prolong the life of your home.
Use a Home Warranty
A home warranty is a type of insurance that covers the repair or replacement of certain home systems and appliances. If you have an older home or appliances, a home warranty can be a valuable tool to save money on unexpected repairs. Just be sure to read the fine print and understand what is and isn’t covered before purchasing a home warranty.
Negotiate with Contractors
If you’re hiring a contractor for a home repair or maintenance project, don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. Many contractors are willing to work with homeowners to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, especially if you’re hiring them for multiple tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or negotiate the price of materials. Just be sure to be respectful and reasonable in your negotiations to avoid any conflict.
Get a Home Equity Loan/HELOC
If you need to make more significant repairs or upgrades to your home but don’t have the cash on hand, you may qualify for a home equity loan or line of credit, secured against the equity in your home. Currently, in Canada, homeowners may qualify to borrow up to 80% of the value of the home.
For example: You bought your home in 2012 for $600,000 and still owe $400,000 on the mortgage. Today, your home is worth $1,000,000. 80% of the value of the home is $800,000, meaning that you may be eligible for a $400,000 line of credit to help finance home repairs or renovations.
But be careful! HELOC’s can be expensive, and if you aren’t disciplined about paying back the principal via regular payments, you could find yourself still paying for those renovations 20 years from now.
Use a Home Repair Savings Account
One way to save money on home repairs and maintenance is to set up a dedicated savings account specifically for these types of expenses. You can contribute a small amount of money each month to this account, which will accumulate over time and be available when you need it. This can be especially helpful for unexpected repairs or emergencies, as you’ll have the funds available without having to dip into your RRSPs or take out a loan and pay interest.
Use Your Credit Cards for Cash-Back or Points
Use a credit card with rewards or cash back to pay for home repairs and maintenance to help you earn points or cash back on your purchases, ultimately saving you money. Just be sure to pay off your credit card balance in full each month to avoid accumulating interest.
Read Reviews and Ask for References Before Hiring Anyone
The most expensive renovations and repairs are those performed by unqualified or undependable people. Save yourself time and money by doing your research before hiring anyone. Get terms, timelines and quotes in writing too.