Owning a home can be a lot of fun. When you make the big step from paying rent every month to paying mortgage every month, it comes with a lot of upsides. Sure, you are in a massive amount of debt, but if you buy your house right, it'll be an investment that'll pay itself back over 5 or more years. As a bonus, any money that you can use to pay off the mortgage's principle can be considered equity, improving your financial standing, and if you do some smart renovations, you might be able to force appreciation as well.

Do Not Panic: Do It YourselfYou need to live somewhere, you might as well live somewhere that is slowly paying you back every month. In addition to the financial benefits, there's mental and emotional ones as well. You don't have to look at an ugly light fixture for years thinking that it is the worst thing you've ever seen in your life. If you don't like it, you can simply get rid of it! Sick of boring beige walls? Paint everything red! Now that you own your home, you can customize it to your heart's content.

But What's the Catch?

Of course, owning a home can have potential downsides as well. There's often increased costs (insurance, property taxes, utilities, etc) that come with owning as opposed to renting, and worst of all, your home could be a potential liability. Even the best homes can cost the home owner money, as we discovered a little while ago.

Now, I've watched a lot of home renovation shows, and I know the major things that can be a deal breaker or bring financial ruination. Mold is a big one, as can structural issues. Before we bought our home we were sure to check for both of those, and since the house passed the inspection, we bought the house.

That being said, even though the house was okay at one point doesn't mean that the house will always be mold and issue free. So it was not a pleasant surprise to find a significant amount of water underneath our sink last week.

The Leak

As we couldn't see the immediate source of the water, we quickly removed everything from under the sink. We grabbed some rags and paper towel and cleaned up the majority of the water. I then went under the sink and looked for the source of a leak.

Water is a tricky thing in an enclosed space, because it will spread and splash all over the place, meaning that finding the source of the water was a bit of a problem. The underside of the sink, all the piping, and the rear of the cabinet was wet.

I checked the sink drains and all the fittings but couldn't see any water problems. I then started to troubleshoot the problem by filling one sink at a time to see if they leaked, which they did not. Eventually I followed the hot and cold water connections up the back wall to the connection to the sink faucet. It was here that I discovered that our counter top was soaked. The underneath particle board that forms the base of our counter tops was soggy and could break apart in my hands. I checked the seal on the sink on the topside of the counter top, and as that didn't appear to be the source of the problem, I determined that the issue was with the faucet itself.

Keel Calm and Do It Yourself

I learned two things from doing this. First, a little bit of logic and investigation can bring a sense of calm about potential house emergencies. There was no massive active leak, so I had plenty of time to take care of the problem. It wasn't like a pipe had burst and I wasn't able to reach the shutoff for the tap or the house. This encouraged me to continue working on the problem myself, rather than calling a friend or a plummer in a panic.

Secondly, I also learned that discovering the source of the issue allowed me to make a smart decision about how to solve the problem. My first thought was that the sink itself was leaking/broken, and as we wanted to replace the kitchen eventually, my stupid human brain immediately thought we should just rip everything out (sink, faucet, cabinets, appliances, etc) and start over from scratch… of course we don't have the money for that.

It may sound simple, but ensuring that you know what is creating the problem allows you to solve it. If I went with my first instinct that it was the sink, I might have tried replacing the sink before realizing that it wasn't the cause of the issue.

Instead, I went out to home depot, shopped for an acceptable replacement (with my wife, of course), and purchased a new faucet. Having absolutely no background in construction, home maintenance, or plumbing, I decided it would be a great idea if I replaced the faucet myself. Luckily it comes with instructions, and one time I watched someone else replace a faucet, so I was pretty confident that I could do it correctly.

About an hour later I had removed the old faucet, drilled a new hole through my counter top for the new tap, and installed the new one (it even works!) with only minor mumbling and grumbling to myself. It's been working great (with no leaks) ever since. All in all I'm happy that we could resolve the issue without a massive cost to our pocketbook.

About Alan Schram

Alan Schram writes about personal finance and his encounters with it in his everyday life. Alan is recently married and is looking to save money on expenses and reduce his debts.