When you have your own home, you will need to deal with many expenses. Some of these may be easily budgeted for, such as the mortgage, the homeowners’ insurance, the property taxes, and the homeowner’s association fees. But it’s harder to set a budget for home maintenance expenses, because they can vary wildly each year.
However, here are some tips that can help:
- First keep track of your recurring expenses. Many of your maintenance expenses are for annual services. These can include the yearly maintenance for your HVAC system, expert gutter cleaning and repairs, and other inspections you pay for year after year. These expenses will constitute the unhanging portion of your budget.
- You may enjoy going the DIY route for some home maintenance tasks such as mowing your lawn or replacing lights. Now even if you don’t engage a pro to do the work for you, you still need to factor in your DIY expenses such as the gasoline for your lawnmower.
- Assess the state of your home structures and appliances. Take note of how old they are, as these things are more likely break down as they get older. Check how long each of these items are supposed to last, so that you can increase the home maintenance budget as these things reach near the end of their typical lifespans.
So you need to know how old your HVAC system is now, because these things tend to last about 15 years or so. You will need to paint your house every 7 years. The caulking may be updated every 5 or 10 years. Water heaters last for about 10 or 11 years, cooking ranges for 14 years, dishwashers for 9 years, and refrigerators for 9 to 13 years.
You have to keep track of all these things so that you can have your budget ready to cover the necessary expenses for replacements and services.
- You can ask around your neighborhood regarding the maintenance costs for the area. If they’re higher than average, you may want to use the easy and convenient “1% rule”. This simply means that you should set aside 1% of your home’s value for home maintenance. If your home is currently worth $300,000 then your budget for home repairs should be about $3,000. The money can cover plumbing, electrical repairs, and repairs for the roof.
- However, if the home prices in your neighborhood are much higher than the average, then you may instead use the “square foot rule”. This means you need to invest about a dollar for each square foot of your home. If your home occupies 3,000 square feet, then your budget is $3,000.
- It may help you to stabilize your home maintenance budget if you invest in a home warranty. This is like a health insurance plan for your appliances and home structures, as they will cover routine home repairs. The home warranty may even replace your appliances when they give out entirely.
It’s better to plan for your home maintenance expenses rather than let yourself be taken completely by surprise. By having the budget ready, you can have the necessary maintenance repairs done so that you can maintain the value of your home.