How to Create a Home Maintenance Budget

As your home ages, you’ll find that the need to repair or replace things like the dishwasher, water heater, or even the roof will occur more often. That’s why it’s important to start putting aside money as soon as you move in, so you’ve got an account built up for when you really need it. But exactly how much should you be putting aside for regular repairs and upkeep? And what about unexpected emergencies?

Conventional wisdom says that setting aside 1% to 3% of the total amount you paid for your home each year is a smart plan.[1] Not only can this save you from putting costly repairs on a credit card and potentially accumulating bad debt, but if you open a new savings account and deposit the funds into it every month, it won’t feel like such a pinch as it will be spread it out over time. This amount should cover regular care and annual maintenance of your property.

Regular care and maintenance includes monthly, biannual, and annual tasks ranging from changing HVAC filters, cleaning out your dishwasher drain and garbage disposal, and vacuuming vents and refrigerator coils to scraping and repainting flaking siding, cleaning out the gutters, and preparing the garden for the changing seasons. Your appliances and fixtures should come with care instructions, but for jobs like washing the windows and buying mulch, consider making an annual maintenance calendar so you can schedule those jobs and know they will get completed.

In addition to saving 1% to 3% each year, it’s a good idea to create a repair-and-replace calendar for major appliances, fixtures, and other features of your home. Find out the age of each item, research the replacement cost, and determine how much you’ll need to save each year until the item needs to be replaced. Then, break that down into a monthly amount that automatically gets deposited into your savings account.

If you don’t use all of your budgeted savings in the first couple of years in your home, you still shouldn’t spend it or stop saving. As your home ages, it’s more likely that you’ll encounter problems that need to be addressed, and they could become more expensive as the structure ages. And there will always be unexpected expenses, such as a big storm that blows down your fence or an appliance that gives out unexpectedly.

  1. Put away your summer tools and make things like snow blowers and shovels easily accessible.

  2. Get the garden ready for cooler weather with a layer of mulch.

  3. Get the gutters cleaned out.

  4. Check your heating unit to be sure it’s working properly. Even better, get a once-over from a reliable HVAC company.

  5. Update the programming on your thermostat in anticipation as the weather cools.

Do you have any major home repair projects that require financing? Call me anytime to talk about the options that may be available to you.


[1] HGTV

[2] International Association of Certified Home Inspectors

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