Home Maintenance and Repair | Money Management | Exodus Lending - Exodus Lending

Home Maintenance and Repair

By Kaitlyn Szabo March 9, 2023

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.

Common Maintenance and Repair Costs

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:

  • Monthly or semi-regular tasks like replacing air filters, dusting surfaces, or unclogging drains.
  • Seasonal or weather-specific projects like cleaning gutters, weatherization, or lawn care.
  • Annual maintenance includes inspecting and testing garage doors, security systems, water heaters, etc.

Repair costs, on the other hand, are infrequent, often unexpected, urgent, and expensive. Repairs include fixing roofs, HVAC, or a water heater.

Saving Strategies for Home Maintenance and Repair

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:

  • Budget for a set amount each month for maintenance costs. If you have any remaining at the end of the month, move them to an emergency fund to help save for unexpected repairs or other expenses. 
  • Whenever possible and safe, try to “do-it-yourself” for minor issues. YouTube often has tutorials for basic repairs, but you can also review these guides from The Family Handyman or Real Simple.
  • Set up an automatic transfer of a set amount to help cover big-ticket items. Roof replacements or new siding are major investments, so chip away at this cost with incremental savings over several years.

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.

Additional Resources for Homeowners

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