According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales in the U.S. were higher at the beginning of 2016 as compared to a year ago.
With interest rates still at historically low levels, more and more renters are venturing out to buy their first home. While this transition is a major accomplishment, being a homeowner requires a different set of skills as compared to apartment living.
As with anything new, there will be a learning curve. Unlike most of the things you’ve purchased until now, especially big ticket items, owning a home doesn’t come with an owner’s manual.
By taking the time to learn a few skills, as a homeowner, not only will you save a significant amount of money over the years, there’s also a tremendous feeling of accomplishment that will come from fixing things yourself.
HOME MAINTENANCE: THE BASICS
One of the new expenses that come with owning a home is making repairs. Not staying on top of small repair jobs can lead to costly maintenance expenses over time.
Routine maintenance is important for every home’s well-being. Continual check-ups on both interior and exterior items will help save you money, and keep your home looking great.
Be careful not to ignore important maintenance items. Minor items left unattended can lead to bigger issues that may need a professional, at a professional’s cost.
Do-it-yourself, on-going maintenance is essential to retaining and growing the value of your investment.
4 ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR EVERY HOMEOWNER
- Unclogging a toilet.
Drain-O doesn’t work for all plumbing clogs, especially on major stoppages in your toilet. To clean out your toilet clog, you will need a plunger.
Make sure you have a toilet plunger, not just a sink plunger – there’s a difference.
You’ll want to make sure there’s enough water in your toilet. It’s almost impossible to plunge a toilet without water. If there’s not enough water, add some from your sink.
- Stopping a running toilet.
Yes, number two is yet another less-than-glamorous toilet-related skill. But not knowing how to stop a running toilet can lead to a shocking water bill on your next monthly statement.
Start by shutting off the water valve. The valve is located just behind the toilet.
Lift the lid on the toilet so that you can inspect the float, chain and flapper. If there are any discolorations, cracks or tears, it may be time for new replacement parts.
If there aren’t any issues that you can detect visually, it may just be a matter of making sure the chain isn’t too short. This will cause the water to continue running.
- Changing furnace and A/C filters.
This is one of the easiest fixes you’ll have with your home. All you’ll need to know is where the filters are located (on air returns or at the air handler), as well as the measurements of the filters.
The general rule of thumb for filter changes is to do so a minimum of twice a year. Many people use the time changes as a reminder to change their filters.
- Finding wall studs.
Prior to hanging any heavy objects on the walls, unless you want an unattractive hole in your wall, or worse yet – a think chunk of drywall coming down, you’ll want to locate the wood studs.
There are a number of tricks to finding a wall stud. For example, you can take measurements starting from windows, doors or corners, or you can find an electrical outlet that’s attached to a stud.
The easiest way to quickly track down a wall stud is with the help of an inexpensive electronic stud finder. These tools measure the relative density of a wall as the sensors is moved along the wall. When it senses the wall density changes (i.e. when there’s a stud behind the drywall), the sensor lights and/or beeps to notify the user.
By taking the time to learn a few important skills, over the years homeowners can spare themselves lots of headaches and money.