Are These Mistakes Costing You Money?

 In Latest News, Real Estate Articles

Nothing is more aggravating than having to spend money on repairs that would have been much easier and cheaper to address at the first sign of an issue. Or wasting money on home energy hogs, when a few habit changes could help you save that money for something worthwhile. Wouldn’t you rather save that money for a great vacation or a new kitchen? There are a few areas in your home where simple mistakes could be costing you A LOT of money. Are you making any of these mistakes?

Ignoring leaks and running toilets

A huge source of water waste in the use goes down the drain in neglected drips, leaks, and toilets that run constantly. The cost of a plumber to repair these items is small compared to what you are wasting in water loss. You might as well just flush those dollars down the toilet!

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), you can waste up to 34 gallons of water per year on a signal dripping faucet that drips at a rate of one drip per minute. It may not sound like a lot, but it adds up. Listen for drips and running toilets, and take note of soggy spots in the yard (which could indicate a leaky irrigation system or outdoor faucet). Then get them fixed right away.

If you are handy with tools, you can also tackle the fixes yourself, and save the cost of a plumber.

Using Old-Fashioned Incandescent Light Bulbs

Really…who uses these any more? If you are one of the few dinosaurs that haven’t made the leap to fluorescent or LED light bulbs yet, then you could be missing out a large savings. According to, every incandescent light bulb in your home could cost you up to $4.80/year per bulb, while a Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)  bulb might only cost you $1.20/year (based on two hours/day of usage per bulb). LED bulbs are even cheaper, coming in about $1.00/year. Multiply that by the number of bulbs in your house, and you can see how the costs add up.

Yes, the more energy efficient bulbs are more expensive. But the potential savings by switching as enormous. LED and CFL also last longer than incandescent bulbs, so you will replace them less frequently. So ditch the cheap bulbs. Save money AND the environment!

Hiring Contractors for Simple Repairs

We aren’t suggesting that you shouldn’t hire a contractor for your major kitchen remodel or to replace your furnace. The reality is that there are some things that simply require an expert. However, there are many relatively simple tasks around the house that you can easily DIY yourself with the right tools and a little know-how, and you will save a lot of money. YouTube videos are a great way to learn how to do simply home repairs.

Yes, you are busy, and it’s just easier to hire someone. But the costs really add up over time, especially if you are hiring out even the most mundane home maintenance tasks. You’d be amazed how much you can save by taking a little time to learn a few new skills.

Ignoring Your Roof

Shingles with 20-50 year warranties do not mean that you can just install a new roof and forget about it for a few decades. Your roof is incredibly important to the overall structure of your home, and even a little bit of moisture allowed into the structure of your home can lead to very expensive problems down the road. Failing to maintain your roof may also mean that you are shortening it’s lifespan, and you’ll be replacing it long before those few decades have passed. Since a new roof may cost between $5-10K, you really don’t want to have to incur that expense frequently.

Do a regular visual inspection of your roof. If you see missing shingles, or if you see evidence of  roof leak inside your home, get it taken care of immediately. If you see shingles in your yard, or there has been a strong storm with high winds and hail, get a roofer to inspect your home. Chances are, your homeowners insurance will pay for the repairs due to storm damage, but they may not pay up years from now if you have damage inside your home due to neglect.

Not Using a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats have been around for awhile, but not everyone has gotten on board with “smart” home technology. What you may spend to upgrade your thermostat will very quickly be made up in energy savings. If you program it to adjust indoor temps when you aren’t home or sleeping, you can save significantly on heating and cooling your home.

Rampant Idle Energy 

Idle energy refers to the “base load” energy usage of your home. Every electrical device and appliance that is plugged in uses some amount of energy, even when not in use and turned off. Some appliance, such as microwaves, coffee makers, and stoves are “always on” because of the built-in clocks, but even your TV, computer and lamps use small amounts of energy when plugged in. This phantom energy usage really adds up over time. The fix? Unplug appliances and devices when not in use.

Let my team at Keystone Realtors® meet all your real estate needs. Paul Phangureh has over 16 years of experience in buying and selling in the Santa Clara and San Mateo County areas, specializing in the high-end, luxury market, as well as commercial and multi-use real estate. We can help you navigate the process of getting started with real estate investment. Visit our website at for listings and information. You can contact Paul at 650-924-2544, or email at [email protected].