As a homeowner, you have many anticipated financial responsibilities like your mortgage, insurance, taxes and utilities. But there are also expenses that can sneak up and create financial stress if you don’t properly plan for them. We are talking about maintenance. When it comes to home repairs, it pays to be proactive. The average homeowner spends $1,400 – $2,300* on regular annual maintenance, excluding any repairs or replacements. This may seem like a significant investment, however, when compared to the average cost of failure, you can see why it's worth it. (See our infographic on Preservation vs Repair)
Budgeting for recurring home maintenance as well as any unforeseen expenses is the key to a well-functioning home and avoiding costly repairs down the road. As a rule of thumb, you should have a maintenance budget between 1-4% of your home’s total value. Since home maintenance is an ongoing expense, to fine-tune your budget you should create a list of all the important components, appliances and systems that make up your home. This includes things like the roof, siding, and windows, as well as minor and major appliances like your water heater, HVAC system and refrigerator. Once you've assembled your list, it can be helpful to determine the age and condition of each item and then call local vendors to find out what you should be doing (and how much it costs) to maintain those items. Next, create a calendar of maintenance for your home. Additional factors to consider are your location and seasons, the age of your home and maintenance history. Not sure where to begin? Check out our maintenance checklist template and guide.
It’s important to remember that luxury doesn't come without a price. Just because you spent the extra dough to get the best doesn’t mean it doesn’t require maintenance. Think of your home like a luxury vehicle that needs to be serviced even though everything seems fine. Just like your car, we don’t recommend waiting until the “check engine” light turns on. If you have custom-built or premium features you may need to increase your maintenance budget to cover the costs of repairs, replacements, and upkeep. Things like high-end appliances, marble countertops, European plumbing fixtures and sophisticated technology will be more expensive to maintain, but the cost of doing nothing will also be much higher.
While nothing lasts forever, you can drastically increase the lifespan of many important and costly systems and appliances by just showing them some proactive TLC. For example, the average cost to have a roof and gutters cleaned professionally is between $120 - $320 and it can be up to double your roof lifespan if done annually. The lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is between 15-30 years and costs the average homeowner around $7K to replace. Wouldn’t you rather get close to 30 years out of your roof? Never mind the stress and headache of a leak in the middle of the rainy season. Did we mention that many roofing companies will provide a free inspection?
Neglecting even seemingly small maintenance tasks can quickly spiral out of control and make your home dysfunctional. Beyond the savings you will enjoy by avoiding costly repairs, budgeting for home maintenance will also allow you to enjoy your home and reduce the stress caused by untimely breakdowns. Ever have your AC unexpectedly quit working when it is 100 degrees outside? If you're planning to sell down the road, a well-maintained property will mean increased value and be more appealing to potential buyers. While it’s a drag to think about budgeting more money toward your home’s care, performing regular home maintenance will save you $ long-term … and who doesn’t like that?
* There are many factors that contribute to the cost of maintaining a home. For the purposes of this blog post, we decided to include “national” averages and amounts we researched on other websites. Budgeting for maintenance is relative to the size, age, contents, location and condition of your home - but so is the cost of repairs and replacements!
How Much Does A Roof Replacement Cost? (Forbes)
Post on HVAC Services (This Old House)
Cost to Repair Roof Leaks (FIXR)