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Preparing for Home Maintenance Costs

When you seek to purchase a home, you anticipate and prepare for specific expenses. You need a sufficient amount of cash to make a down payment and cover the closing costs. Then you’ll need a continuous income to make your mortgage payments. Another expense that homebuyers need to anticipate is home maintenance costs. Preparing for home maintenance costs includes being able to have an estimate and save for routine home fixes and unanticipated problems. The amount people are saving for their home has increased over the years. Back in 2009, most homeowners saved 1% to 2% of the value of their home to cover any maintenance problems. Last year, the amount doubled, as many homeowners saved anywhere from 2% to 4%.

The two types of maintenance costs to consider are:

  1. Start up maintenance.

    When you first buy a home, there are going to be maintenance costs that have to be taken care of right away. Some of this includes fixing any plumbing situations, repainting, or buying a new refrigerator. If you are buying an older home, there are likely to be aspects that do not meet your standards. These costs will be taken care of and paid for before or right when you move in.

  2. Continuous maintenance.

    These are going to be the costs that have to be planned for. There is wear and tear that occurs in a home as it ages. Areas to consider when preparing for continuous maintenance costs include:

    1. The seasons. Certain seasons of the year are going to require different amounts of maintenance costs. Thankfully, in San Diego, you do not have to be concerned about the expenses that come with the cold and snow. However, you do have different expenses that will arise in the rainy season over the hot season. Take the amount needed for each season, add them together, and then divide that amount over 12 months. Placing savings aside each month is going to place you in a much better financial situation. Otherwise the amount you will need for certain months, depending on the season, is going to vary, making it hard to have a consistent budget.
    2. Appliance replacements. Think for the future. If you are planning on staying in that home for a long period of time, then there are certainly going to be some small and large appliances that are going to need to be replaced. If you do not have money set aside for these replacements, it can be very difficult to have the sufficient funds. For example, a roof repair could cost around $10,000. If you realize your roof needs to be replaced only a few months before it starts leaking, $10,000 is going to put a massive dent in your finances. But if you predicted that you could need a roof replacement 5 years from now, and started saving each month, you are going to be much more prepared. Go through each of the aspects of your home and think: 3, 7, 10 years from now, what am I going to need to replace or fix? Then add the amount that will be needed for each of those replacements, and divide it between months and years.
    3. Banking. Consider putting the money for maintenance costs in a separate savings account. If you are trying to set aside a certain amount for the future bills you are going to have but are still keeping the money in the account you use for all of your other expenses, it can be difficult to save your savings.
    4. First-time buyers. Being able to predict maintenance costs for homeowners is a challenge, but the difficulty in anticipating costs increases exponentially for a first time homeowner. If the new homeowner previously rented a house or lived with his or her parents, the landlord and parents most likely had responsibilities to maintain the home that the new homeowner had no knowledge of. For example, a new homeowner needs to determine who and how much it costs to have the house painted, have the garbage picked up, and have the lawn mowed and cared for. A new homeowner will have many more unexpected costs than a previous homeowner. The seller, your family and friends, and a realtor will be able to provide a first time homeowner more information on how you should anticipate maintenance costs.

Whether you are paying for start up maintenance or ongoing maintenance, taking care of the home is important. It may seem like a burden, as a homeowner has already invested time, energy, and a large sum of money to become a homeowner. But taking care of the home is also an investment. Your home is going to be of more value if the home is in good condition. If done correctly, the maintenance you do on your home is not going to go unnoticed.

Contact Paul Chunyk

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