You may decide your New York City condo or co-op needs some sprucing up after you have completed your purchase. Alternatively, perhaps you have been living there for some time and would like to do some upkeep. You may find hiring a contractor for a large job is the prudent course. But, there are basic jobs you may discover, to your surprise, which you can easily handle.
These do-it-yourself projects should save you a considerable sum of money.
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Common charges vs. maintenance fees
We have mentioned doing work in your condo unit and co-op. The key difference is that you are a shareholder in a co-op while in a condo, you own the airspace between your walls.
The two ownership structures result in a difference in what your monthly charges cover. Condo owners pay a monthly fee to maintain and fix common areas, such as the lobby and specific amenities. In a co-op, shareholders’ maintenance includes a range of repairs such as plumbing and electrical.
You may wish to have specific work done in your co-op, but the process is typically more arduous. For specific jobs, you may need the board’s approval. While other work may not need the board’s blessing, it is wise to check with the management company before you start the project. You should not merely assume you can go ahead without their permission.
Painting intimidates many people. But, if you have the time, this can genuinely save you a lot of money in labor. The key is the prep work. You need to move things out of the way (you have to do this anyway, but a painter usually moves the big stuff), put down drop cloths, tape, scrape, and spackle. You may have to apply primer, depending on the new and existing colors, and finally, paint the room.
The key is to take your time and not rush the process. For your protection, you should wear safety goggles.
If you are merely patching a small hole in the drywall, this is an easy fix, too. First, clean the area, use a putty knife to fill the hole with spackle, and sandpaper it once it dries.
These items likely apply more to condo owners since co-op shareholders’ maintenance fees probably cover these items.
Rather than calling a plumber, there are specific basic jobs you can do yourself. Your first step to tackle a clogged sink is to snake the drain. You may have to clean out the trap (the curved piece of pipe below the sink).
Similarly, for a clogged toilet, a plunger may very well do the trick. After that, you can snake the drain.
If these necessary steps do not work, you may have to call a plumber. But, you may very well solve the problem since these are typically a plumber’s first steps.
Electricity is another area that makes people nervous. Understandable, since not doing the work properly, it can result in a severe injury and significant damage. However, some jobs are easy to accomplish, such as changing the light switch,
As a note of caution, make sure you turn off the electricity before doing the work. You need to remove the faceplate and then the switch. There are two wires that you should test to ensure there is no electricity running through them. Once you connect these wires to the new switch, you are all done.
Reaching out for help
You can use the Internet as a source at any time during the job. There are sites such as YouTube that have instructional videos. If these are not helpful, you can go to your nearest hardware store, such as Home Depot or Lowe’s, and ask someone who works there for advice.
Lastly, if all else fails, you can call in a professional to finish the job with the knowledge that you have given it your best.