Owning a home is a source of pride for many – and it should be, given how much work goes into preparing for homeownership in the first place. But whether you’ve just moved in or have called your house a “home” for years, the work never ends. That’s why we’ve put together this overview of typical home maintenance and repair costs and how to pay for them without breaking the bank.
Maintenance costs include regular work that keeps your house clean and functioning day-to-day. You can review this website for more comprehensive maintenance checklists, but in general, maintenance includes the following:
Repair costs, on the other hand, are infrequent, often unexpected, urgent, and expensive. Repairs include fixing roofs, HVAC, or a water heater.
The commonly repeated benchmark for how much to set aside for home maintenance and repairs is 1 to 3% of the home’s purchase price (closer to 3 or 4% for older homes). However, one expert suggests saving up to 5% of your income for maintenance and $10,000 to cover emergency repairs and replacements. But that’s quite a bit of money!
While it may seem incredibly daunting to build up savings, taking small steps now can help cover or at least offset future costs:
Sinking funds may be suitable for short-term repair costs or maintenance projects, like replacing a water heater in the next year. Emergency funds are good places to save for unexpected damages or issues, like repairing a broken window. Another option is to purchase a home warranty plan to help cover repairs and system replacements. Additionally, a few loan programs may cover the repair cost, including the Section 504 Home Repair Program.
Keeping up with regular maintenance or repairs is hard to do in the best circumstances. But if you are already struggling financially, it is even more difficult. In addition to these homeowner resources, here are organizations or programs that may assist you with mortgage payments or utility bills.
Money Management E-Newsletter: November 2022