Despite continuing reports of economic growth in the UK, recent figures suggest that home-owners are feeling less optimistic about their personal finances. In fact, the Markit Household Finance Index (HFI) recently revealed that there was a sharp decline in consumer confidence between October and November, as it fell from 41 to 38.8 over a four week period. This represented the lowest level of consumer confidence since April, with rising energy prices and a lack of certainty about the nation's long term economic stability cited as the key reasons behind this.
This can have a key impact on necessary and everyday household spending, as home-owners are forced to cut costs and potentially delay important home repairs. This can be extremely counter-productive, however, as the most important thing you can do to reduce the cost of home repairs and maintenance is to do all minor repairs in a timely manner so they do not become a major job. Fixing a loose tile is a simple procedure for any homeowner, for example, but tiling the bathroom wall once moisture has set in behind it is a major expense. Thankfully, the internet and technological advancement has made it far easier to execute minor repairs than at any point in history.
Conducting Home Repairs Independently
Thirty years ago, a homeowner depended on a timely magazine arrival to explain a DIY repair, or perhaps the expert guidance of an experienced tradesman who also happened to be a member of the family. Without this, they would be forced to absorb the cost of hiring an industry professional, or embark on a time-consuming process of trail and error to arrive at a desired result. With the internet, however, there is the ability to search any problem and get a step by step guide on how to make a repair and even use industry standard tools.
With most jobs you can even get an exact video demonstration of how to make the repair through YouTube. The benefit of this is that you can watch these videos while performing the task in hand, while enabling you to improve your technique and follow a simple, step by step process. You should try to watch the video in full before commencing work, in order to ensure that it is within your skill set.
Cutting the Cost of Materials
People often try to reduce home repair costs by purchasing materials and tools cheaply. Knowing when to go with a big brand name and when not to can be difficult without having a lot of experience of the market, and even a novice painter will quickly agree that there is a huge difference in ease of painting and finished results between premium brand paints and bargain basement products. The best way to proceed is to look at independent reviews on consumer websites, or even analyse the ratings given by the Consumer Reports organisation which balances the cost of the product alongside the value that it delivers.
In order to do the work yourself, you will need some basic tools. Having a good assortment of hand tools is essential for any home-owner, as the right tool can have a dramatic impact on the end result. For example, powering a screw in with a manual hand driver is going to create a sloppier fit than using a decent drill every time. To save money on the tools shop locally and compare the equivalent prices online in order to get the best value. On specialty tools, consider renting the correct item for the job as opposed to trying to make do or spending hundreds on a floor sander that you will use once every 10 years.
Laura is a home design expert based in the UK. She has written for a host home-improvement blogs and worked previously for Swift Trading.