Home Improvement Guidance For A Single Mother

Author ProRinger Author - Sep 30, 2020
  • Improvements

I purchased my home eight years back. My little boy just turned three and I was super excited to have a piece of the American dream. As a single parent, it was (and is!) both difficult and fulfilling, I absolutely knew that having a house to call my own was the best thing that would ever happen to Billy and me. 

Our home was eleven years old when I purchased it, and very well cared for. With that said, as the years passed, issues and concerns come with them. I think my system for dealing with (or not) home improvements is pretty common for a single lady that owns a property. So, my intent is to share with you some of my experiences and in return maybe help you navigate your home improvements a little better. Here are six things that I have learned:  

1.) Have the right tools

You can complete a lot of projects with a good toolbox and some know-how. During the holiday season of the first year, I moved in, my brother and sister-in-law gave me a toolbox loaded with the essentials: hammer, nails, screwdrivers, tape measure, and so forth. Also gifted me what turned out to be a very handy home repairs book. They literally supplied me with all the basic tools I needed and the confidence I needed to take on minor home improvement projects. My advice: Pick up the essential tools that every homeowner should have in the closet. Download some online books or courses to help guide you while you tackle those routine maintenance chores that your home will require. 

2. Seek out Advice

As an older woman who is 45 years old and only has limited knowledge of home improvement issues, I worry constantly that repair companies will take advantage of that. My air conditioner stopped working on the worse possible day, 100-plus degrees out, and I had no way of knowing what really was wrong with it. I have learned to ask family members, friends, and neighbors - whose knowledge definitely exceeds mine - to get their thoughts on what I should do. They have pointed me in the right direction more than I would like to admit. 

3.) Know your surroundings

Learn from what’s happening around you. All of my neighbor’s homes in my immediate vicinity were constructed around the same time by the same builder. Discussing with my neighbors about the home improvements they are working on and why has helped plan for possible improvements around my home. Here is an example, three years ago I started to notice new roofs being installed on the houses around me. Even though I did not have any leaks, a couple of months ago I decided to have the shingles replaced. This was me being proactive so I didn't get slammed with a possible expense of drywall or wood repairs in addition to what the new roof cost me. 

4.) Find Pros on ProRinger

Post your projects on services like ProRinger and ask for referrals. Through posting projects on ProRinger, I've been able to connect an excellent roofing contractor, a fantastic plumber, and absolutely the best electrician in the area. However, I don't just rely completely on the ProRinger network. I always - repeat, always – verify with my state’s licensing board for a valid license and read their reviews through the ProRinger network and even other areas. I never hire anyone with a bad rating, I just can’t take that risk. Also, remember to get all estimates in writing, and verify that your contractor has a proof of insurance. 

5.) Do not put it off

Get your head out of the dirt. On more than one occasion, I have chosen not to deal with a home improvement issue when I should have and I've always regretted it. Here is an example, on the exterior of my windows there was some wood rot around the casings. Unfortunately, by procrastinating for far too long it ended up costing me much more. I should had dealt with the problem immediately. 

6.) Compile a list

My last bit of advice for this post is pretty basic but crucial. Start and keep a list of items that need maintenance on a regular basis. It is far to easy to get caught up in our hectic daily lives and forget about the routine home maintenance items. 
Usually, I put this into three sections: Items that need attention within the next three months; annual items; and last one a list of goals that I would like to accomplish over the next couple of years. In short, the first two on that list keep me motivated, and the long-term stuff helps save and budget for those big-ticket items in the future. 

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