Home maintenance costs are a big part of owning a house. Skipping routine repairs to save money often backfires; a little bit of dry rot becomes a collapsed deck, and a neglected dryer vent can cause a fire.
One rule of thumb is to set aside 1% of your home’s value each year for repairs. But experts disagree on whether this is enough.
- Don’t Ignore Minor Issues
The common rule is that homeowners should set aside between 1 and 4 percent of their home’s value yearly for maintenance costs. This can add up quickly, especially if a homeowner ignores issues. A little dry rot could turn into a collapsed deck, or an unattended leak can end up costing thousands of dollars in water damage.
Landlords also know that a smart approach to maintenance can save a lot of money. This includes avoiding major repairs, minimizing service fees, and doing as much as possible on their own rather than hiring professionals.
This might mean choosing a home that was recently built so it hasn’t had much wear and tear, or conducting a thorough home inspection before buying one. It could also involve identifying problem areas and taking steps to proactively address them, before they become bigger problems.
- Get Rid of Unnecessary Complexity
It’s inevitable that you’ll have a breakdown in your home or need to make a repair. However, there are things you can do to minimize these costs. First, get a home warranty. This will help to defray the cost of repairs, making it easier for you to pay for those unexpected expenses. The price of home warranty will be dependent on the specific company offering the coverages.
Second, reduce complexity. Adding new appliances or features to your home can increase the amount of maintenance needed. Be careful with what you install yourself and consider getting an energy audit to see how you can save money by making your home more energy-efficient.
- Get an Energy Audit
Getting a professional energy assessment done by an expert can help homeowners find issues they didn’t know existed. This can include air leaks, insufficient insulation, and combustion safety issues that affect efficiency.
An audit will include a blower door test, infrared imaging, and more to locate areas of heat loss, leaks, and insufficient insulation. It can also suggest options for installing new, energy-efficient equipment like mini-split heat pumps to keep homes
comfortable without sky-high operating costs.
Homeowners should clear away clutter from crawl spaces, access hatches, and attics to make sure the energy auditor can get to boilers, furnaces and water heaters easily. They should also have copies of their recent utility bills on hand to help the auditor estimate energy usage and energy savings potential.
- Keep an Emergency Fund
As a homeowner, it is important to save money each month and build up an emergency fund that you can use for unexpected repairs or expenses. The best way to do this is by setting aside a portion of your yearly maintenance budget for this purpose.
This will ensure that you are never left in the lurch when something goes wrong, like your water heater breaking down or your basement flooding during a storm. It will also prevent you from putting these expenses on credit cards, which can carry high interest rates.
There are many different ways to determine how much to set aside for these expenses, but a good rule of thumb is 1% of your home’s value. However, this does vary depending on the age and condition of your home.
- Don’t Overspend
Homeowners need funding to pay for unglamorous maintenance tasks like cleaning the gutters and termite inspections, as well as items that break down or wear out. If you ignore these things, they can turn into major repairs that could cost thousands of dollars.
The rule of thumb is to save at least 1 percent of your home’s value each year for maintenance costs. However, this number will vary depending on a few factors.
It’s also important to consider whether you should do the work yourself or hire someone. For example, refinishing hardwood floors or replacing toilets may be DIY projects, but you should always hire professionals to handle any major plumbing or electrical issues. This way, you can be sure the work is done correctly and won’t cause problems in the future.