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I am a Homeowner

Cost Effective Home Maintainance
You have finally bought your home and now the real work begins. How can you maintain the home that you have waited so long for? The upkeep of your home should be undertaken on a continuous basis. This is to prevent the need for major repairs which would require spending a large sum of money. These simple guidelines can help you maintain your property and minimize unnecessary expenses. 

I. Budget for Maintenance
The best way to save money on repair costs to your home is to spend small amounts to upkeep it on a regular basis. You should allocate a small portion of your income, on a monthly basis, towards performing minor repairs. A household budget is an ideal way to track household expenses. When preparing the budget, cleaning and preventative maintenance should be taken into account.

II. A Stitch in Time
Regular home maintenance could include:
• repairing leaks to a roof
• changing corroded galvanize sheets
• replacing broken window panes.
This will cost far less than if the problems are ignored and they become progressively worse.

III. Value your Property
If your property is neglected, it would become dilapidated over time and in turn its value would diminish considerably. The continuous maintenance of your property should include the following:-

i. Cleaning on a regular basis
ii. Preventative maintenance
iii. Repairs and improvements.

i. Regular Cleaning
Your home is your castle and as such you should ensure that it is cleaned thoroughly on a weekly basis. That is one of the best ways to ensure that your home remains a safe and healthy environment. When your home is well kept, both inside and outside, it makes it easier to identify the areas that need attention. For instance, you may notice a stained tile, a clogged drain, or even a hinge on the cupboard door that needs attention. All these can be easily repaired.

ii. Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is geared towards avoiding the need for costly major repair work to be done on your home. This includes checking that there are no leaks in the roof, the galvanize is not corroded, the plumbing fixtures are in good working condition, there are no cracks on the walls, appliances are in good working condition, drains are not clogged. Should attention be needed in these or any other areas in the home, the problem should be attended to immediately.

Spending money on regular and routine preventative maintenance is the best way to minimize costs while maintaining the value, safety and comfort in your home.

iii. Repairs and Improvements
As a result of your routine preventative maintenance exercises, you will identify areas needing repair at an early stage i.e. before they become a hazard. You therefore have time to schedule those repairs.
Home improvements can be major works and may require obtaining a loan from a financial institution. Whatever work you decide to accomplish, you must ensure that you get an estimate from a reliable individual or firm. You may wish to obtain more than one estimate and compare them. After selecting a contractor, you may then have to approach a financial institution to obtain financing for the project.

When approaching the financial institution you must bear in mind that your monthly budgetary expenses (including the repayment of the loan to be granted for renovation) should not exceed 35 per cent of your gross monthly income.

IV. Mother Nature and Your Home
After severe weather, such as, high winds, heavy rains, earthquakes, etc. you should:-
Check the roof of your home;
Check all the internal and external walls immediately after the severe weather and check again after five to ten days;
Check the fence around your property;
Take photographs of any damage to your property, if possible;
Report all damages to your insurance company and other relevant authorities;
Temporarily patch or fix the damage to maintain a secure environment.

V. Tips for Homeowners

(i) Every home has repairs that should be addressed on an annual basis.

(ii) Always have money budgeted specifically for repair work to be
completed on your home.

(iii) To avoid major repairs, spend some time on preventative

(iv) Maintaining a beautiful, healthy, safe and comfortable environment
requires regular cleaning of your home and surroundings.

(v) Constant maintenance of your property will reduce the need for unplanned repairs.

(vi) When thinking about renovating your house, plan on saving money on a monthly basis, towards the renovation so that you are well prepared.

For more information on cost effective home maintenance and other related articles, visit the National Financial Literacy Programme website at 

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