Written by:  Paul Denikin <paul@dadknowsdiy.com>

Owning your own home comes with many benefits; for many Americans, it’s the ultimate goal to have a place where their family will stay safe and comfortable for years to come. It can also come with a lot to consider, especially if it’s an older residence. After a few years, many areas may need some attention via updates or repairs; just like a car, homes can have wear-and-tear issues that need to be addressed, and some of them can be costly. Figuring out how to take care of these problems — and how to pay for them — can be stressful, so it’s important to put together a plan and figure out the best way to get started.

First, think about the potential for a project to be DIY. What kind of budget do you have? Do you know what materials you’ll need and how much they’ll cost? If you’re unfamiliar with how to handle a particular repair, you may be able to find a YouTube tutorial on how to complete it. Just keep your safety in mind, and remember that some jobs are better left to the pros.

Keep reading to find out how to handle home repair projects.

Do Some Research

Some repairs involve updates or upgrades that require construction, and even in a minimal capacity, this will require a permit in most cities. Do some research online to find out what type of paperwork you’ll need to complete your project and how much it will cost. You’ll also need to set up an inspection of the work with a city or state inspector, so keep this in mind when thinking of a timeline. Your contractor will already know which permits and inspections you’ll need, but it’s best to educate yourself. Taking care of the legal end of things will help you avoid issues with your Homeowners Association and will keep you well-informed during the process.

Build a Budget

Before the first contractor steps foot on your property, you should know about how much your project is going to cost you. The internet is a great tool for this, of course. A quick, online search can give you a basic price range for most home repairs and upgrades. Larger purchases that you need to make immediately may require you to tap into your savings or line of credit, so you’ll want to be prepared for that. Of course, there will also be costs above and beyond the labor and materials to plan for and consider. For example, you may need a temporary storage unit to protect your furnishings and valuables during construction, which costs an average of $81.72 per month in San Antonio. Or you might need to rent out another place for a while, which will cost you an additional $93 per night on average from a site like AirBnB.

Leave Electricity to the Pros

Any job that requires wiring should be left to the pros, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. Don’t conclude that you can turn off a breaker and get to work on an electrical problem yourself; it’s not always that simple. Call in an electrician, but do some online research first. Ask for price quotes and shop around, as there may be a few different contractors in your area. If your home is more than 30 years old, make sure you have working smoke alarms in each area.

Plumbing Problems

There are many plumbing issues that can be easily fixed, such as a slow-draining sink or a faucet that has low water pressure; these can be handled with minimal tools in most cases, and a simple tutorial online can help you figure out the best place to start. However, when it comes to pipes, it’s best to leave the job to a professional plumber. Some older houses need updated pipes, and while this can get costly, it will be much more expensive for you to do it yourself if you’re not sure how to complete the job. With a pro, you could be looking at anything between $4,000 and $10,000 to replace pipes depending on parts, labor, and materials.

Home repair projects can get pricey and stressful, but if you start with a good plan, you can ensure that the process goes smoothly. Think about setting up a savings account specifically for home repairs and educating yourself on the loan process so you won’t be caught off guard, and always remember that when in doubt, it’s best to call a pro.