The American dream of home ownership comes with a hidden price. I’m not talking about the mortgage or the utility bills. I’m talking about the myriad repairs you need to do to fix up your house. Anyone who owns a home will have to take a crash course in home repair at some point in their home ownership.
Take plumbing for instance, there’s a reason plumbers charge a high rate. They know that they have you. You need to be aware of what is required so that you don’t get ripped off. The job is not easy and that’s just the ‘simple’ repairs like replacing an o-ring or washer in a faucet. First you have to disassemble the faucet. That’s actually the hard part of replacing an o-ring or washer. Getting the thing apart after it has had years to sit there, is not easy. I have to do that in my bathtub. Once you manage to get it apart, replacing the o-ring or washer is simple enough. Reassembly is easy as well. It’s just that initial get the part off stage that is hard.
I personally learned how to snake a drain this year. My bathroom sink and the laundry tub share a drain outlet. The bathroom sink was backing up in the bowl every time we ran water into it. The laundry tub would fill and drain slowly, sometimes it would even overflow. Wet floors become spongy floors over time, but that’s another story. I snaked the laundry tub and it seemed to run clear after that. I then snaked the bathroom drain and you wouldn’t believe the gunk that the snake brought up. However, the drain is running better than it has in years. I think I will add snaking that drain to my list of monthly chores. I don’t know it that will work, but I’m betting it will cut down on the amount of gunk that builds up. If the drain starts running slow again, I’ll just snake it again. Now all I have to do is learn how to take care of the snake. It will need cleaning and oiling and I haven’t a clue how to do that.
Then there are the cupboard doors that start sagging. Gravity works, you know. A homeowner needs to know how to fix sagging doors. Sometimes you have to completely reframe the door. That means taking the door and any trim off and putting new wood in place. Sometimes that requires cutting the wood that is there to get it out and putting the new wood in its place.
Then there are the electrical repairs. Sometimes you have to fix a broken electrical cord. Knowing how to do it properly can save you time and money. Some things should be left to experts, but some things are relatively simple. You have to know the difference.
Learning to do simple repairs can save you time and money in the long run. There are even books on the subject. You could go to Amazon and enter “Home Repair” in the search box and find lots of books. I’m getting this one: Handyman Whole House Repair. It might even tell me how to take care of that snake.
Personally, I think, as part of the home buying process, everyone who wants to buy a home should go through a home owner’s course that would include basic plumbing, how to unclog drains and such. It should also include basic dry-walling, basic carpentry and basic electrical repair. At least you should know what the electrician is doing and why. You stand less chance of being ripped off. Knowing when to call an expert is also a good idea. I’m just saying…