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There’s no denying that owning real estate is a costly endeavor.
Aside from the monthly mortgage payment, expenses like furnishings, utilities, insurance, property taxes, and more can all stretch your budget. A significant ongoing expenditure that many people don’t give much thought to—until it’s needed—is home repairs and maintenance. Whether they’re of the routine type or in response to an unwelcome emergency, home repairs come with the territory when you’re a property owner. In the following article, we’ll take a deeper look at these expenses and offer up some valuable advice for keeping the costs down.
How much you should budget for these expenses?
The cost of repairs and home maintenance varies greatly, so it’s hard to provide a rule of thumb in terms of what you should expect to pay. Some factors to consider include:
- The age of your home
- Its condition and how well it was maintained previously
- The climate and weather in your area
In addition, home repairs cover a broad range of tasks and requirements. A new roof, for example, costs $11,095 on average, while the typical cost of a garage door repair runs a mere $208. Experts recommend socking away at least 1 percent of the value of your home each year to cover the costs associated with maintenance and repairs.
Follow these seven smart rules to keep your home repair and maintenance costs to a minimum:
- An ounce of prevention really can be worth a pound of cure. Putting time and effort into maintenance means you’ll be less likely to be shocked when repairs are needed. Two key preventative measures include:
- Cleaning everything on a regular basis: Whether it’s replacing the furnace filter, dusting off the light fixtures, or wiping down the air conditioner, keeping things clean reduces wear and tear. Dust can shorten the lifespan of anything with a vent or a filter. Giving your house a regular once over can also help catch small issues before they become big problems.
- Test your furnace and air conditioner in the off-season: Most people find problems with their furnaces on the first chilly night—not the best time to try to get a repairman to come out and fix it. Test your furnace and air conditioning a month or two before you expect to need them. That way, you can make sure everything’s in working order and avoid emergency repair fees.
- Consider sharing equipment with your neighbors: One of the big expenses of performing home maintenance and repairs involves the purchasing the tools required for all of these jobs. If you can share big-ticket items with your neighbors, you won’t need to buy them. While only one person at a time may be able to mow their lawn or snow blow the driveway, the overall cost to purchase and maintain that equipment will be greatly reduced.
- Visit a supply store before calling a technician. Home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have a wealth of information at their disposal and can be valuable assets when residential repairs are needed. If your issue doesn’t involve a major emergency, contact a knowledgeable store assistant first to make sure you can’t handle the fix yourself rather than hiring an expensive repair person.
- Hire a qualified contractor. Soliciting multiple bids for a major home repair is a tried-and-true method for getting a good price. However, selecting the lowest bid can end up costing you much more in the long term if the contractor is unqualified. Make sure any contractor you consider is licensed, bonded, insured, and can provide references and examples of past work. Using a good contractor is often worth a higher price because the quality of the work can help prevent the need for future repairs.
- Evaluate the cost of repair vs. the cost of replacement. When it comes to appliances, it can be more cost effective to purchase a new unit. The standard rule of thumb: don’t spend more than 50 percent of the value of a new appliance when repairing an old one.
- Get an energy audit. Finding out where your home’s energy is going helps to identify easy fixes that can save you significantly. For example, something as simple as sealing a few cracks or adding some extra attic insulation can dramatically reduce your electric bills.
- Look into government rebates for increasing your home’s energy efficiency. Many federal and state rebate programs exist to offer tax credits for home improvements like weatherproofing, insulating, and installing efficient furnaces, air conditioners, and appliances. Research the tax incentives available to you and if possible, take advantage of them during your home repair project.
Home repairs can impact your life and finances in a major way.
Even if you’re doing everything to keep the costs down, you may still encounter situations that require a professional technician. The key to successfully navigating these repairs is to do your homework and set funds aside in advance.
We hope you found this information helpful. Are you looking for more tips and suggestions to help you save on your home maintenance and repairs? The knowledgeable team at Certified Title is here to help. Please reach out to us anytime.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for their industry-leading reliability and exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.
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