Owning a home is an exciting but expensive part of life and not only because of the monthly mortgage payments. A house, like a car, will need repairs throughout the years of ownership and home maintenance costs should be considered when buying any house, especially an older one.
Establishing your home maintenance budget
Rule number one of home maintenance—repairs are temporary. Many repairs will be repeated throughout the years–some annually (or close to it). According to The Balance, you should set aside roughly one percent of the purchase price of your home per year for maintenance. For example, if your home cost $250,000, then it is best to set aside $2,500 a year for potential repairs. Another rule to follow is the “square-foot rule.” This entails putting $1 toward house maintenance costs per every square-foot of the house. This will help create an emergency fund for the house if issues arise that exceed the amount put aside by the “one-percent rule.” When buying a home, you should purchase it knowing that you will spend plenty of money on fixing it —even if it’s a new build things will come up. They always do.
Home maintenance factors to consider
Many factors that can drastically change how much you’re spending to fix your house including:
- Age: Homes built within the last 10 years should be less costly regarding maintenance. Houses that are 10-20 years old will require moderate fixes, and homes older than 20 years will likely need major repairs such as replacing piping, a hot water heater, furnaces, etc.
- Weather: Areas with freezing temperatures, extreme winds or rains, and other harsh weather conditions will naturally need more repairs than homes that are not subjected to such drastic elements.
- Condition: How well have the previous owners maintained the home? If they have taken diligent care, less maintenance will be required. If not, then no matter the age of the home, extensive repairs may be needed.
- Location: If a home is in a flood zone or at the bottom of a hill, it will likely need more repairs than the average house.
- Single-Family or multi-family property: If you own a town home, the exterior is likely cared for by the Home Owners Association (HOA) and you will not have maintenance expenses related to the outside – saving you money. However, if your house is a single-family home, then you will be responsible for all repairs, indoors and out.
- Home Warranties: Some properties come with a home warranty that covers the repair or replacement of appliances and other items. Obviously, such a policy reduces your repair costs, but comes with a price of its own.
If you’re a handy person, some home maintenance costs can be mitigated by doing it yourself. In the end, however, it’s smart to set aside some time and money for the unknown. If it can break…it undoubted will. Just make sure you’re ready.