While you may be congratulating yourself on your home ownership, you may also be dreading its unavoidable, unwelcome, and often expensive brother: home repair.
How can you prepare yourself and your budget for home maintenance? Here are four ways to keep the foundation of your home, and your finances, standing strong:
How to Budget: One approach to home repair budgeting is the “One Percent Rule.” For example, you would save 1% of your home’s worth, or $4,000 for a $400,000 house, each year. Another rule, the “Square Foot” rule, suggests you save $1 for every square foot of your home. Others advise you take the average of these two amounts, then increase your budget by 10% for every repair-inducing factor, like age of your house, poor local weather, etc. Now you can see how important it is to have an emergency fund!
Preventative Measures: You may need to spend a little now to save a lot down the road. Have a plumber inspect your home for disasters-in-waiting every three to five years, and install a hot water heater catch basin as well as a standpipe for your washing machine. You’ll wish you had, when you have a major leak or a burst pipe.
Do It Yourself: Before you buy supplies, look into borrowing or renting equipment. Compare prices in-store and online, and check if the manufacturer offers rebates. It also can’t hurt to check YouTube tutorials, if you’re afraid of doing more damage than repair!
Hiring Help: Be prepared to negotiate with contractors, but also be wary of those who offer substantively lower bids. As the saying goes, “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” In other words, you may need to pay to fix their “fix.” Also, be sure to purchase materials separately from labor to avoid mark-ups.