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Common Costs for Home Maintenance & Repair

Protect Your Home's Value with Proper Maintenance

Buying a home is likely one of, if not, the biggest investment you'll make in your life. And protecting that investment is an important responsibility. Along with purchasing top-notch insurance, performing ongoing repairs and maintenance are the key to your safety, the enjoyment of your home, and the ability to sell it for top dollar down the road.

For upkeep, the general rule of thumb is to set aside 1% and up to 4% of your home's value for expenses depending on the age, size and general condition of the house. Let's say you purchased a home built in 2010 that's currently valued at around $500,000. You should set aside at least $5,000 each year for any maintenance or repairs, or around $416 per month.

If the original water heater or HVAC came with the home, you may want to bump that up even more. Older roof that's seen a few hail storms? Keep that in mind when setting your budget, too. 

Some common maintenance items include:

  • Clean and repair the gutters
  • Drain and inspect the water heater
  • Service the HVAC and change filters
  • Perform lawn care and tree trimming
  • Test and repair the sump pump
  • Inspect the plumbing for leaks 
  • Repair and reseal a deck or patio
  • Touch up all interior grout and caulk
  • Winterize outdoor spigots/sprinklers
  • Remove lint from the dryer exhaust

This list goes on, and you can find a number of checklists online to work from—like this one or this one

10 Common Home Repair (and Replacement) Costs

Along with basic maintenance, your home will likely require bigger ticket items at some point or another. It's important to know the age of these systems and features so that you can better anticipate when costs might impact your budget. If possible, add to your maintenance percentage to pay for them outright. If you're going the financing route, be certain that your budget has room to include monthly payments for a new furnace and A/C.

Below, you'll find the average national prices so you can budget for projects that need to be tackled. These are ballpark figures that will likely vary depending on the extent and materials used in repair or replacement work. The square footage of your home (or roof or yard) and labor costs for your exact area will also come into play. 

For example, let's say your roof needs to be replaced. Asphalt composite shingles will run you about $1.50 to $4.50 per square foot. Class 4 Impact Resistant shingles will cost you 10% to 25% more. Want a more unique look? A metal roof (standing seam) runs $6-$12 per square foot and concrete tile runs $10-$15 per square foot. 

Here's a look at even more average numbers.

The Consequences of Not Maintaining Your Home

It can be tough to deal with the cost and hassle of home upkeep, no doubt. But putting it off or ignoring things altogether never has a good outcome. Deferred maintenance can cause:

  • More and More Damage – Putting off maintenance leads to repairs. Ignoring repairs leads to replacing and fixing damages. If you skip caulking around your window one winter. Moisture gets in, framing rots, and damage spreads into nearby structures, floors, etc. The final cost can be thousands instead of $10 for a tube of caulking. 
  • Higher Utility Costs, More Wear and Tear — Using the above example, without caulking, cold winter air can get into the home. That means running the heat higher and for longer to keep the home at a comfortable temp. That means the furnace has to work harder (reducing its lifespan) and heating costs will likely go up.
  • Lower Resale Value — A home subject to deferred maintenance does not show well. Water stains on the ceiling from a leak. Musty smells in the basement. Hot spots, cold spots. Cracked tile. Overgrown trees. Your real estate agent will have to price your home accordingly and many buyers will be turned off from making an offer.

The bottom line? While the initial investment in a home is a significant cost, maintenance and repairs are vital to ensuring that you see maximum returns when you decide to sell. Take care of your home, and it's sure to pay off.

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