Three in 10 homeowners don’t have enough money set aside for home repair costs. But there are ways to save big on your next project by taking proactive steps.
Many experts recommend saving 1% to 4% of your home’s value each year for repair costs. Here are some tips to help you maximize that savings.
- Do It Yourself
If you are comfortable enough with a little DIY, many home repairs can be completed yourself. Unless you have a warranty plan, bringing in a professional for even a small job can cost hundreds of dollars, so if you’re willing to invest the time and effort, you could save a lot.
Taking care of your home will also help prevent problems that could lead to lofty repair bills in the future. Things like insulating your home properly, winterizing your gutters and roof and inspecting your home for damage after a storm are easy ways to cut down on costly repairs in the future.
One of the best ways to keep your repair costs down is by saving for them ahead of time. Experts recommend saving between 1% and 4% of your home’s purchase price each year in an emergency savings account. Whether you follow this rule, the square footage rule or a combination of both, the earlier you begin to make repair savings a regular part of your budgeting process, the better.
- Get Quotes
Whether you’re trying to avoid expensive repairs or simply prepare for them, it helps to know how much things are going to cost. That way, you can start saving or shuffle other financial priorities accordingly.
Many experts recommend that you set aside 1% to 4% of your home’s purchase price each year into a dedicated maintenance fund. However, this doesn’t take into account the fact that every home is different and some repair costs can be far more expensive than others.
Fortunately, there are some great online tools that can help you estimate home repair costs. Most of these sites require you to input your address and then provide a description of the repair or remodel project. Some are more detailed than others, and you may need to do some research to find the right one for you. Moreover, some contractors charge for estimates, especially if the job is small, so be sure to inquire about that before hiring someone.
- Shop Around
It’s always wise to shop around and find cheaper alternatives, whether it’s a more affordable brand of paint or finding a cheaper contractor for the job at hand. You’d be surprised how much you can save simply by checking out options at local warehouses and discount stores.
You can also cut down on delivery costs by picking up your own materials, if possible. Buying materials directly from a warehouse or home improvement store can be cheaper than paying the markup that many contractors tack on to the material costs, according to “The Owner-Builder Book.”
Another way to save is by taking advantage of sales and coupons. Keep an eye out for discounts and sales at your favorite home improvement stores, or shop online to find the best deals. And don’t forget to keep an inventory of your tools and hardware —a log will help you remember what you already have, and avoid paying extra for those elusive screws or bolts.
- Don’t Ignore Issues
Homeowners who ignore small repairs often find themselves in even bigger financial trouble down the road. For example, water leaks can lead to rotting, mold, and structural collapse, so it’s important to fix them ASAP.
It’s a good idea to create a savings account dedicated to home repair and maintenance costs. Whether you go with the square footage or percentage method, set up an account and commit to making deposits into it each month. This will help you avoid the stress of relying on credit cards or loans for unexpected expenses. Most homeowners invest in a home warranty to help alleviate the stress of home repairs. Does home warranty cover plumbing? Every warranty plan is different so it is important to read and understand your home warranty.
Despite the popularity of home improvement TV shows that feature DIY enthusiasts taking up a hammer, there are certain tasks better left to the professionals. If you’re not an experienced handyman, it’s best to let the pros handle major repairs that could result in extensive damage, health hazards, or safety issues. This is why it’s a good idea to take the time to research and compare contractors before hiring one.