Top DIY Tips for New Home Owners
Whether you’ve just bought your first home, an investment property, or refinanced your mortgage, you’ll be looking for ways you can save money and minimise how much you spend on the house above your home loan payments.
Here's our Top DIY Tips on how to do a professional job of maintaining your home, without the professional cost.
1. Know how to properly paint interior walls.
Why spend money on a job that you can really do yourself? You’ll be surprised how rewarding and enjoyable painting can be, but you’ll want to get it right with the proper preparation.
Proper preparation is essential
Be systematic and don’t rush the job. Just take one room at a time.
Start by sanding back any rough patches and filling gaps, before washing down the wall.
If you’re painting over the weekend, try to get this done Friday night. And don’t expect to be all finished by Sunday evening!
Using a roller - let gravity do the work
You can practice on the base coat. You don’t need to press the roller against the wall, this will cause paint to squeeze out of the edges.
For a smooth finish, practice letting the roller roll down the wall naturally as you apply the basecoat.
Darker colours will be harder to get perfect as they reflect the light to show imperfections in the paint, so keep this in mind when you choose your interior colour scheme if you’re a first time painter.
Ceilings come first
It sounds obvious, but really, remember to finish ALL your coats on the ceiling before moving to the walls. Next is the windows, architraves and skirtings, then the walls. And feature walls come last.
2. Be able to find a wall stud.
Take a large fridge magnet, wrap it into masking tape so there’s a flap you can use as a handle. Drag it along the wall until it sticks - hooray, you’ve found your wall stud!
This solution is much cheaper and easier than buying an expensive stud finder, and means you can quickly and easily find studs to hang artwork or shelves.
If you’re adventurous you can use it to install railings or other custom steelwork you may need too.
3. Professionally Paint Kitchen Cupboards.
This is pretty much the easiest way to update your kitchen to look the way you want it too - much cheaper than a full renovation.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you get the right paint and preparation for the surface. Kitchen cupboards can vary as they are usually made with a material or finish that’s easy to wipe down.
If you can, take a door or drawer into your local paint supplier and get some advice.
Once you’re ready to paint, remove hardware and hinges, and clean the surfaces thoroughly to remove all grease and wax buildup. Then lightly sand the surfaces, fill any dents, and use a clean cloth to wipe away the sanding dust.
Prime your cupboards with a stain-blocking primer for glossy surfaces. Then you’re ready to apply your paint - do at least 2 coats, sanding lightly between them to ensure a perfect finish.
Once the paint dries, put the cupboards back together. If you’ve kept all the pieces organised this will be much easier!
4. Fix a plasterboard hole.
It’s only too easy to put a dent in plaster board - as anyone with children, bikes or dogs knows!
Here’s a handy video on how to fix a dent using a plaster, drywall joint compound, a wide putty knife, sanding block and stanley knife.
5. Look after your Air Conditioner.
As one of the most costly appliances to repair, it pays to maintain your air conditioner. It’ll save you a costly call-out fee when the heat of summer strikes.
Change air filters frequently
Make sure you change the air filters often, especially from November to March when it’s getting used a lot more.
You should check and clean them every month, or more if you’re constantly using the air conditioner system.
You can use the cheaper fiberglass filters rather than more expensive HEPA filters. Fibreglass filters give you better airflow, saving you on electricity as well.
It’s only worth going for the HEPA filters if you need hospital-grade air filtration.
6. Maintain your Gutters.
Gutters are designed to catch water, leaves and other debris that falls onto your roof, and divert it away from your house, protecting the foundations and walls of your new home.
When gutters aren’t operating properly, water will accumulate around the base of your house, leak onto walls and cause some rather expensive damage.
Gutters are your home's key defence against environmental damage.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to prevent this from happening. At least once a year, or more often if a lot of stuff falls onto your roof, you’ll need to climb onto the roof and physically clean out the debris that has accumulated in the gutters.
Don't be afraid to ask for help!
Get someone else to do this if you aren’t confident at heights! It shouldn’t cost too much if you need to hire someone, like a Jim’s Maintenance.
Taking care of your gutters will definitely be worth it to avoid major problems later on.
While you’re up there, check that the gutters are firmly attached to the fascia boards, and be sure to replace any sections that are damaged or leaking.
Once you’re done, rinse the gutters thoroughly with a garden hose - this is a good time to check for leaks that might need fixing.
7. Set aside money each year for repairs.
Around 4% of the purchase price of the property each year should cover it, unless you live in a severe weather area.
8. Pay it forward by donating spare materials.
Help out others who've experienced serious misfortune by donating any quality materials you don’t need any more to Habitat for Humanity.
With these basic home maintenance tips you’re well on your way to saving yourself a few dollars that you can put towards extra mortgage repayments, or to save for a car, holiday, whatever your next financial goal will be.
Do you have a great home maintenance tip to add to this list? Email us with your tip and we’ll add it in!