As a homeowner, it's important to budget for monthly expenses like your mortgage, utilities, and groceries. But there's one other expense that's often overlooked: home maintenance. Just like your car needs regular tune-ups to stay in good condition, your home requires regular maintenance and repairs to avoid even more costly repairs down the road. So how much should you be setting aside each month to keep your home in tip-top shape?
How Much to Budget for Home Maintenance
One rule of thumb is to set aside 1 to 4 percent of your home's purchase price for annual maintenance costs. For instance, if you bought your home for $350,000 and decided to save 1 percent of its value yearly for maintenance costs, you should budget $3,500 per year or about $292 per month. That money would be spent on things like painting, fixing gutters, and HVAC maintenance. Of course, every home is different; some may require more or less than 1 percent annually.
Another way to estimate your monthly home maintenance costs is by looking at your home's age and condition. Older homes tend to require more frequent repairs than newer homes, so if you live in an older home, you may want to set aside a little extra each month. The same goes for the condition of your home—if it's in need of significant repairs, you'll want to have a larger budget to cover those unexpected (and often expensive) costs.
How Much to Budget for Repairs
It's difficult to estimate how much you'll need to spend on repairs since they are often unplanned. However, a good rule of thumb is to put $100 per month into a repair fund. This may seem like a lot, but if you have an emergency repair such as a broken water heater or furnace, you'll be glad you have the money set aside from the rest of your funds.
Home Maintenance Costs to Consider
There are a number of different home maintenance costs that you'll need to keep in mind when budgeting for home upkeep. Here are some of the most common ones:
- HVAC maintenance – your heating and cooling system will need to be serviced regularly in order to function properly; ignoring this type of maintenance can result in higher energy bills and costly repairs down the line that could have been avoided.
- Plumbing – homes frequently require drain cleaning to clear blockages caused by food, toilet paper, grease, and tree roots. Additionally, water heaters should be flushed annually to reduce sediment buildup.
- Painting – both the exterior and interior of your home will need to be painted periodically; exterior paint will typically last longer than interior paint due to weathering conditions
- Roof repair or replacement – depending on the type of roof you have, it may need to be repaired or replaced every 15-20 years; replacing an entire roof can be a significant expense, so it's important to factor this into your budgeting plans.
- Gutter cleaning and repair – gutters should be cleaned at least once yearly; if they are not properly maintained, they can become clogged and cause water damage to your home's foundation or siding.
- Windows – windows can warp and become stuck or cracked; if they are showing signs of wear, they will need to be repaired or replaced.
- Pest control – many homeowners deal with pests like rodents, ants, wood-destroying insects, and stinging insects. Effective pest control usually involves preventative treatments as well as extermination services.
By budgeting for both routine maintenance and repairs, you can keep your home in good condition while cushioning your bank account against nasty (and expensive) surprises. Of course, these are just general guidelines, and you may need to adjust your budget based on the state of your home and how often you need to perform maintenance tasks and make repairs.
HVAC, Plumbing & Appliance Repairs in Milford
Tri-City Heating and Cooling is proud to provide our customers with high-quality HVAC, plumbing, and appliance repair services. Book your appointment with us today by calling (203) 303-5700.