Adjusting from renting to owning is about more than just budgeting to cover recurring costs like annual property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums. Those who are new to home ownership often find that being responsible for the day-to-day home repair and maintenance issues are the most stressful part of being a first-time homeowner.
A good way for these homeowners to become more comfortable in their new role is to take time to learn a few things about their home and how to handle common repair issues.
Learn how to disconnect from supply lines before an emergency happens
Water and electrical damage can devastate a home, but most homeowners will experience a leaking pipe or electrical issue at some point during their ownership. To avoid damage from problems like this, new homeowners should take time to learn:
- where the main water line enters the home and how to shut it down
- where the electrical control panel is located and how to safely cut power to the house by moving the main breaker to the off position
- where smaller plumbing shut off valves are located and how to shut them off, such as those located on lines that feed sinks, showers, toilets, and appliances
- where any floor drains are located, in the event of a water infiltration issue
Knowing where these features are located and how to access them before a stressful situation develops will help homeowners limit damage while they concentrate on repairing the the problem or finding a professional to help.
Fixing the leaky toilet
Leaking toilets are noisy and result in higher water bills. Fixing them is usually is just a matter of changing a worn or misshapen flapper, which is simply the rubber flap that seals the tank opening after flushing to allow it to refill. Replacement flappers are available at most local home improvement stores for a few dollars. Detailed instructions for replacing the old one are available here.
Fixing the leaky faucet
Depending on the severity of the leak, just one leaking faucet could result in sending gallons of perfectly good water down the drain each day. This helpful video illustrates a common faucet leak and provides detailed instructions for fixing it.
Patching a hole in drywall
It happens. Whether its a small hole made while moving furniture, making renovations, or an unfortunate accident involving an indoor ball toss, repairing a hole in dry wall is a necessary skill for any homeowner. In fact, once homeowners understand how to cut the patch in the correct size and make it flush with the existing wall, the rest is fast and easy to do. This video provides step-by-step instructions, so there is no more reason to put off making this repair.
Making small home repairs is a good way for new home owners to learn more about their home and save a significant amount of money. They should remember, however, to never attempt a home repair that could be dangerous, such as one involving electricity. In addition, even minor repairs left unattended can turn into major ones. If time constraints prevent the homeowner from making a repair quickly, it is often better to call a professional to get the job done before the problem becomes worse and more costly to repair.
New homeowners who would like to learn more about common home repairs and how to do them can ask their real estate professional to help them locate classes in their area. Most home improvement stores, as well as many churches and community organizations offer free or low-cost home improvement classes to members of their community.