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3 Home Services You’re Probably Paying Too Much For

Jun 14, 2020 by Maurie Backman

Whether you're a homeowner or a landlord, you're no doubt aware that there are certain maintenance projects that need to be done on your property from time to time. And when those tasks come up, it's tempting to outsource them to professionals to save yourself the time involved. But if you're a homeowner on a budget or an investment property owner looking to trim costs, then it could pay to do certain tasks yourself, especially if hiring a contractor means paying a premium. Here are three relatively easy tasks you may be overpaying for if you continue to bring in outside help.

1. Painting

Though painting isn't the sort of thing you need to do every few months, you'll likely have to paint certain areas of your home or income property every year or so. In fact, it's common to paint rental units in between tenants, especially if there's evidence of wear. The good news is that paint itself is fairly cheap, coming in at as little as $15 or $20 a gallon, depending on the brand you choose. But hiring a painter is a different story.

HomeAdvisor reports that you could pay up to $50 per hour to hire a painter, but that's a lot of money for a job you can easily tackle yourself. All you really need are a few rollers, brushes, a pan, and some painters tape, which should set you back around $20 in total. On the other hand, a half-day paint job by a professional could set you back $200.

2. Pressure washing

Pressure washing your home's exterior is something you'll likely need to do once a year, and if your property has a wooden deck, you should plan to pressure-wash it annually as well. But you could easily pay a contractor $100 per hour to pressure-wash your property for you, and that's really not money worth paying when you can instead rent a pressure washer for the day for $40 to $100. Furthermore, by pressure-washing yourself, you'll be sure that the job is done to your standards; you won't have to risk a scenario where a contractor comes in, rushes through the work, and leaves you poorer and unsatisfied.

3. Landscaping

Maintaining good curb appeal is important, whether it's for your personal enjoyment or you have a rental property that needs to look attractive. But hiring a landscaper can get expensive, as these professionals generally charge anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour. As such, it could pay to mow your own lawn (especially if you already own an efficient mower) and do your own mulching and planting on a seasonal basis.

Stop wasting your money

Though there's something to be said for unloading property maintenance tasks and bringing in a professional, in these cases, it's generally not worth overpaying. Rather, you should save your money for maintenance items that are not only difficult to do, but can also be dangerous. For example, gutter cleaning isn't particularly time-consuming, but it could require you to balance on a very tall ladder and risk falling. That's a maintenance item worth paying for to avoid injury. However, if you're talking about work that doesn't pose any sort of hazard, it pays to consider saving your money and putting in the time instead.

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