Building Moxie with the Home Repair Tutor … aka an Interview with Jeff Patterson
Note from the host: Today, a quick chat with Jeff Patterson, the Home Repair Tutor. Jeff first grabbed my attention on HomeTalk but on a closer look I noticed he was churning out some really good, simple to follow tips, many in a very visual way. Our interview below, thanks. ~jb
Building Moxie: What motivated you to launch Home Repair Tutor? And when?
Home Repair Tutor: This is a great question JB.
I bought a rental home back in 2010 and ran into some cost overruns on a porch rebuild. Consequently, I had to take on most of the remodeling myself that I’d normally hire a contractor to do. As a result I would go to the house after work and on the weekends. The entire process took me 9 months and my wife wasn’t a happy camper.
But I added a ton of skills to my toolbox. And the process was super rewarding because in the end I turned the house from an eyesore to a modern living space. In addition, the value of the home was raised by more than $70,000.
I decided that if I learned something new about home repair or remodeling I’d share it with others. My goal is to help people discover that they don’t need to be an expert to get things done.
Building Moxie: Your site is full of simple to follow how to home repair articles … How do you pick what to cover on your site?
Home Repair Tutor: The topics covered on Home Repair Tutor are usually projects I need to do around my personal home or our rental houses. It’s really that simple.
Although lately, I’ve been tinkering around with different ideas that I’d like to implement. But this is an experiment in the infant stage right now. So I’ll keep you posted!
Building Moxie: Is it just you or do you have assistance on the site? I mean – someone needs to hold the camera, right? You do videos too right?
Home Repair Tutor: I’d love to get some assistance from my girls but they refuse, haha. As of right now, it’s just me and that’s kind of the beauty of it all. You can do these projects yourself with little help.
I use a small Kodak HD camera and my iPhone to take movies and photos. It’s amazing, the movies we make today look better than the film that Happy Days was shot on over 30 years ago.
This year my photos and movies will be getting a much needed upgrade. I dub over the movies using my H2N microphone and Camtasia. None of this could be done without my iMac.
Building Moxie: We originally met thru the social home site HomeTalk … when did you start using that platform and what have been the payouts?
Home Repair Tutor: Hometalk was on my radar after I heard about it on the Money Pit podcast. I joined in early 2012 and have had a great time interacting with all the people.
It’s such a great community because people share creative ideas that prompt others to get things done around the house. I hope Hometalk gets even more popular so that homeowners will share all their projects from around the world.
Building Moxie: I also know you are on Pinterest. I notice that you have a unique way of laying out your boards (i.e. by fix, by project) are you seeing a good response out of that?
Home Repair Tutor: Pinterest is hands down the best site for visually learning new ideas.
My goal was to layout boards in alphabetical order so visitors could easily find what they’re looking for.
It’s amazing, all you need is one Pin to go viral and tons of people all of the sudden find your site. This has happened to me and I’m forever grateful to those that pin my pictures. Without their help, Home Repair Tutor wouldn’t be as popular as it is.
Here’s some advice that’s served me well with Pinterest: layout boards alphabetically, provide a good description for both boards & pins (keep it short and sweet), add your social network info to your profile, and get your website’s address verified. If you have fun with Pinterest other people will notice and repin your photos. So have fun!!
I’m not as popular as others but the entire experience is really neat.
Building Moxie: What’s been your favorite how to so far?
Home Repair Tutor: Hands down the epoxy grout tutorial because it had the potential to be a nightmare but was just the opposite. If you’re looking to re-grout or add grout to your bathroom or kitchen I highly recommend looking into CEG Lite by Home Building Products. It won’t stain and never needs to be sealed. These are two things that irritate the heck out of me when taking care of normal grout and others feel the same based on comments I’ve received.
Building Moxie: What’s your best home improvement tip?
Home Repair Tutor: If you’re not sure how to use a product, call the technical service line of the company that makes it. This is a super helpful tip because you’ll save time, discover tips from an expert, and won’t have to redo your project (LOL).
Building Moxie: It looks like you are starting up a podcast, what can we expect from that?
Home Repair Tutor: Podcasts are going to get a lot more popular due to new cars having apps. The concept I’m shooting for deals with quick tips and interviewing other DIYers who’ve done inspiring projects.
This is still a huge work in progress and I hope to get it launched sometime this year. So, JB you’d better be ready when I ask if you’d like to be on the Home Repair Tutor podcast. (Editor’s aside: ha!)
Building Moxie: Is there anything else you can tell us about what inspires you, your background etc… What can we look forward to with Home Repair Tutor?
Home Repair Tutor: You can expect more experiments with home improvement products. My background is in chemistry and Mr. Wizard was a big inspiration.
He was this older gentleman who did science experiments on Nick in the 1980s (In case you’re curious, there are videos on YouTube). It’s cool to see if things work or not. For example, will sanded grout stain faster than epoxy grout?
These are questions homeowners want to know because redoing a bathroom isn’t exactly cheap. If you’re going to invest money in your house you’d like to see it payoff instead of being flushed down the toilet because the materials are junk.
Videos on Home Repair Tutor will get a lot better moving forward. My goals is to have at least one video with each post. Some of us like video better than text. This is why YouTube is the 3rd largest search engine.
There are few other surprises that I can’t elaborate on right now but 2013 is going to be a great year. Thanks JB for this opportunity, I hope the readers of Building Moxie realize what a nice guy you are. Cheers. (Editor’s aside: ha!)
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About jb bartkowiak (323 posts)
A one-time construction manager, and always handyman, turned blogger and editor - Your Home Project Assistant. My wife, Jen, and I are on our 6th property (. . . yes, together). She is a real estate agent. We have two beautiful daughters Evyn and Eva. We currently live and are restoring an 1889 farmhouse in Baltimore's Lauraville area.