Do your research
Before hiring any contractor, get multiple bids and vet the contractors and their subcontractors by checking references, reading reviews, and verifying licensing and insurance. Cheaper is almost never better, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Some contractors promise ridiculously low prices or quick turnarounds that end up being a big disappointment. Consider getting bids from at least three contractors, to determine whether you’re getting a fair price.
Get your contract in writing
Writing up a contract ensures that all parties are on the same page when it comes to total cost, timing, and more. While there may be some delays or minor changes to the original plan once the project gets started, a contract can help ensure there aren’t too many major surprises down the road. A contract should have detailed time frames, the total cost, payment arrangements, your contractor’s license number, the project description, names of parties involved, and how to handle additional costs if necessary.
Start a repair fund
It’s never too early to start an emergency home repairs fund. Open a savings account that’s attached to your checking account, and set up automatic transfers from checking to savings every month or pay period. Plan for the worst but hope for the best…this is true for many things, including your home. Repairs can be costly and unpredictable, so starting and regularly contributing to an emergency fund will leave you covered, just in case things go wrong.
Get an energy audit
A home energy audit helps assess how much energy a home consumes and can also show ways to improve efficiency and create more comfort in your home. Think of an energy audit as your home’s annual physical. It will help to pinpoint any areas that aren’t running as efficiently as possible and, in turn, are wasting your money. Correcting these energy issues can result in lower utility bills and create more comfort within your home.
Know where your water shut-off valve is
If a pipe bursts and starts spraying water all over your house, you’re going to want to know where your home’s emergency water shut-off valve is. The water system is one of the most important things in your home. In case of a water-related emergency, the first step is typically to get the water shut off as quickly as possible. Familiarizing yourself with your system can save you time and money and avoid costly repairs from water damage.