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Staying in your own home as you grow older — often called aging in place — allows you to maintain your independence in a familiar place you’ve made your own. Maybe that’s why it’s called Home Sweet Home.

But living comfortably, safely, and affordably in your home requires keeping it in good condition — and that means performing regular home maintenance.

Do you find home upkeep overwhelming? Many homeowners do. That’s why we’ve outlined how to make home maintenance more manageable, plus ways to save money on home-related expenses, below.

Make a Home Maintenance Budget

Looking to make home maintenance easier, less expensive, and more predictable? Creating a budget can help you do just that.

Your maintenance expenses will vary depending on where you live, the type of house you live in, and which tasks need doing.

Start by dividing your expenses into two main categories:

  1. Monthly: Ongoing maintenance like a seasonal chimney inspection or purchasing and replacing your HVAC filters.
  2. One-time: Major repairs or replacements for appliances, exterior paint, roof, or plumbing fixtures.

Once you have an idea of how much you may need to spend, set aside money regularly in a savings account, if you’re able. Bonus: performing regular maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs down the road..

For help making a budget, download this helpful worksheet.

Find Free and Low-Cost Home Services

Need something done around your house, but can’t afford to pay for it or don’t know who to trust for help?

Charitable or government assistance may be available for everything from lowering utility bills and changing light bulbs to replacing a damaged roof or removing lead paint or mold.

Look for help here:

  • Search our directory to find services and programs near you.
  • Call 311 to connect with your local government’s resources.
  • Contact your city or county officials for possible programs to help keep your home in good condition.
  • Call a HUD housing counseling agency for help with homeownership.
  • Ask your local Area Agency on Aging for home improvement services, referrals, and advice.

Lastly, find out if you’re eligible for a property tax refund or credit by contacting AARP Foundation Property Tax-Aide — it’s free and confidential.

Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

When it comes to home maintenance, this is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

If you can safely do it yourself — or with the help of a friend, family member, or neighbor — you’ll save money you can use toward other home projects.

But some tasks — like cleaning upper-level windows or servicing your boiler — are simply too difficult, risky, or time-consuming.

In those cases when hiring a pro is the way to go, be sure to:

  • Get referrals from family and friends
  • Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau
  • Ask for proof of credentials, licensing, and insurance
  • Request an estimate with materials, labor, start and end dates, and total cost
  • Get everything in writing and keep a copy of everything you sign
  • Don’t pay the final bill until all work is completed

One last tip: Make sure you and any service providers wear masks and follow other coronavirus safety protocols.

Helpful Home How-Tos

Get step-by-step instructions for money-saving DIY projects you can do to maintain the upkeep of your home, including:

Find Help

Search our directory to find programs and services near you.

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