Digital Age of Home Repair

Alex is an advocate for lifestyle skills and home safety training, a free-lance journalist, and the co-founder of the National Kids Construction Club. He holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from American University’s Kogod School of Business. Alex welcomes your questions and the opportunity to speak to your school or organization. He can be reached on Facebook at Alex J. Boughton.

Alex is an advocate for lifestyle skills and home safety training, a free-lance journalist, and the co-founder of the National Kids Construction Club. He holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from American University’s Kogod School of Business. Alex welcomes your questions and the opportunity to speak to your school or organization. He can be reached on Facebook at Alex J. Boughton.

Spring is a great time to think about home repairs and maintenance, whether you own or rent your home. At the moment, I live in a rental property in Washington D.C. with four graduate students. As you can imagine, it does occasionally get somewhat cluttered and some things fall into disrepair.

If you’re looking for convenient ways to find someone to address home repairs, look no further than a Google search on your smartphone or laptop. The first thing I do: go through the massive list of service providers available in my area, including Angie’s List and Home Advisor. Sometimes it’s difficult to siphon through the data. Keep an eye out for companies that have negative customer reviews or vague or limited information online. All too often, companies that don’t have a great track record will spam you with promos trying to bring in business. Be sure to watch out for this!

Perhaps you want to save yourself time and money and perform your own home repairs or projects. If you’re unfamiliar with the repair process for your project, try asking a knowledgeable friend or use a site like YouTube which offers “how to” videos. When embarking on a larger project, such as a new patio, develop a plan in order to complete the project on time and within your budget. Consider using powerful tools like Microsoft Project or Excel that provide a spreadsheet to map out your project’s expenses. If you think you may be under budget and can outsource some of the work, be sure to double-check your spreadsheet.

Since I live in a rental overseen by a property manager, I usually have the same “preferred vendors” conducting repairs. When you rent a home, there are typically limits to the repairs being requested. On the bright side, if you plan on staying in your rental for a few years, you can often get permission to make upgrades at your own expense. For those on the home-owner side, you have the most control over maintenance or repairs to your home. That said, home-owner associations or other organizations that govern your community can sometimes pose a hindrance to renovations. This highly depends on the scope of your project, so worry not! If you plan correctly and work around these road blocks, your home will have that desired facelift.

This past winter I had the privilege of returning to my former school to educate a few hundred eighth grade students about the need for learning home safety skills. They reminded me that they are not particularly curious about home safety because gaming and school remain more important. A parallel can be drawn about me and my home. I do not currently own my home, so I don’t go looking for capital improvements; I’m busy working and attending a class at night. However, this doesn’t mean that I should ignore what may get broken or pretend that it’s unimportant.

Whether you rent or own a home, spring remains a great time to fix, repair and rejuvenate your home. The Digital Age can help to make your home a better place in which to live, work and play!