Home Maintenance Management: Skills Homeowners Can Learn Fast

It became apparent in the aftermath of the home-market crash that there would be winners and losers; rich parents and poor parents, buyers at wholesale and sellers at loss, savvy homeowners and homeowners-no-more.
Homeowners that are known to be savvy, by friends and neighbors, are known as the ones who “did their homework” prior to signing on major purchases. To our surprise it was not major purchases they excelled at, but the many minor ones in fact. Major purchases are usually covered by consumer and government reports. Neighbors talk about major purchases because they can hide behind its many variations. Major purchases are well covered, while minor ones rarely make the news.
Some of you might describe mechanical repairs (air conditioning, heating, appliance repair) as a major expense. Let us be frank, it is minor compared to building a pool or replacing a roof or re-doing the bathroom. Studies have shown that most homeowners are not candid to others about repair technicians working at their homes, so true even when neighbors inquire about it. It is for that reason that knowing who and how to call a contractor for your home mechanical repairs is important. This is a Home Maintenance Management skill, probably the most important one of them. It requires savviness as no one will help you do it. Sad, but I will tell you this “IT CAN BE LEARNED”.
One of the best things I have done in college was take a series of classes on interviewing skills. In fact I ended up graduating with a degree in Communication alongside my intended degree in Engineering. A skilled homeowner knows how to ask the right questions. There are open-ended questions and closed-ended questions (with many variations). When you call a local contractor, you learn few things from the way they answer your call. At first you may ask the dispatcher a series of typical short closed questions; cost of service call, extended warranty, how soon they can come out, etc. That makes them know that you mean business. After a dispatcher spends one or two minutes talking to you, you may then casually ask your open-ended questions. Listen carefully to how they answer them. Only a good contractor will have time and good demeanor to answer yet another one or two deliberate open-ended questions. Examples of deliberate open-ended question are: What happens if the cost was above my budget; What causes appliances to break down all at once? Tell me about your experience in repairing central air conditioners; Tell me your experience in appliance repair.
I hope that explains my idea.
In a future article, I will shed some light on communicating with a repair technician at your home, smartly, and for good results.

See also  Log Home Maintenance 101