Help maintaining your home

Even the most avid handyman can struggle to maintain a house. These tips will help you plan, prioritise and budget for all jobs, big and small.

How to approach home maintenance
There are four ways to make home maintenance more manageable:

  • carry out regular preventative maintenance
  • do repairs as needed and stop small problems snowballing
  • plan ahead for larger jobs so you can budget for the expense and inconvenience
  • be prepared for emergencies and know how to turn off your utilities

DIY or get professional help?
You will best know your capabilities and whether you can tackle your own home maintenance or need to get someone in to help. If you are doing it on your own, remember – safety first. If you’re getting professional help, make a list of all the jobs you need done and get three quotes and detailed timeframes. Also, ask for references and follow them up. If you are in a property which is part of a body corporate, it’s best to ask first before you do anything and often the external part of your building is covered for maintenance.

How to find a professional
Word of mouth is often the best way to find a reputable maintenance contractor. Ask around for a recommendation. Your local council offices or Commonwealth Carelink Centre may also have a list of contractors who frequently carry out work and are trustworthy. There are also sites which enable you to list the work you need done and contractors will provide competitive quotes. While this may ensure you get the best price, don’t forget to ask for guarantees about the standard of work. And lastly, don’t engage anyone who knocks on your door and offers their services, more often than not you’ll end up out of pocket and with shoddy workmanship.

Home maintenance checklist
The following checklist will help you manage the process of home maintenance.

  • Plan regular, preventative maintenance
  • Budget for maintenance tasks
  • Carry out repairs when needed to avoid the problem escalating
  • Know how to turn off your utilities in an emergency
  • Know what you can do yourself and when you need help
  • Always check references of professional handymen
  • Get three quotes for any work
  • Don’t employ door-to-door maintenance companies
  • Remember – safety first
  • Understand which jobs, by law, must be carried out by a professional
  • Become involved in your body corporate to have your say in the maintenance plan
  • Insulate, ventilate and heat your home properly to combat dampness
  • Check the source of mould and dampness as soon as you spot it
  • Keep drainage outlets clear
  • Regularly clear your guttering and spouting
  • Check your roof annually – a visual check should be enough

Written by Debbie McTaggart