Editor's note: Barry Courter has a 25-year-old son who is a college graduate and a 20-year-old daughter who is a sophomore in college.
Q: Dad, we've always had you around to fix things at home, but now that we are on our own, what do we need to know about home maintenance?
A: Take care of a problem as soon as you discover it. Don't wait, hoping it will fix itself. An odd noise, a little bit of water where there should be none, an unusual smell are all clues that something is happening. Fix it yourself or find someone who can. Also, when buying tools, save up and buy quality. Both of these are lessons I'm still learning the hard -- and expensive -- way myself.