Many homeowners find themselves struggling to pay for home repairs and renovations. Some specialists recommend setting aside 2% of your house’s value to cover these costs.
A home warranty company would tell you that skipping maintenance can cost you in the long run: That little bit of dry rot could become a collapsed deck; that dusty, clogged dryer vent may cause a fire.
- Set a Budget
Home repairs can be expensive, especially if you have to pay for a major repair like a roof replacement or HVAC system replacement. To save money on these expenses, it’s important to set a budget and stick with it.
The most common recommendation for a homeowner maintenance budget is one to four percent of the home’s value per year. However, there are other factors to consider.
For example, the size of your home can impact maintenance costs. Larger homes require more cleaning, pest control, and heating and cooling than smaller homes, so you may need to set aside more money. You should also take into account the age of your appliances and systems when deciding on an average maintenance cost for your home.
- Look for Discounts
Home repairs can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay full price. You can find deals on materials and contractors by shopping around.
Look for discounts online and at local building stores. You can also save money by doing renovations in the winter, which is the off-season for most contractors.
You can also find financial assistance for home repair projects through community programs, national and local non-profit organizations, and cash-out refinancing. Many top real estate agents have contractor connections and knowledge of local assistance programs. They can also help you navigate financing options like a HELOC or credit cards.
- Ask for Referrals
Asking for referrals may seem like a waste of time, but it’s actually an excellent way to save money on home repairs. Referrals are cheaper than advertising, and they’re also more effective. The key to getting referrals is to build a relationship with your clients and keep in touch with them. Doing things like taking pictures of your work, or catching up on their news, will make it easier for them to recommend you.
You can even set up Google alerts for your clients, so you know when they get an award, win a new round of funding or open a new office.
- Hire a Professional
There are some projects that should always be left to the professionals, like removing a load-bearing wall or replacing electrical wiring. Be sure to hire a contractor who has great references and offers a written contract.
Lastly, it is always best to hire a professional that has insurance so you will be covered in case of an accident or damage during the project. Ask the contractor what steps they will take to protect your home, such as moving furniture, tarping over carpets, and locking up when leaving.
By following these tips, you can save money on your home repairs. Be sure to shop around, use discounts, and keep an eye out for potential problems before they get worse.
- Learn a DIY Skill
Homeownership eats up a significant chunk of most people’s incomes, with maintenance and repairs costing about 2% to 5% of the average home’s purchase price, according to home expert Dan DiClerico. To keep your costs down, it’s important to be able to handle some basic home DIY projects.
Every time you pay someone to do something that you could easily do yourself, you take a step back from reaching your savings goals. Learning to clear a clogged drain or paint your own room are two essential DIY skills that can save you money on home repair bills in the long run. You can find online and in-person classes at most national home improvement stores.
- Finance Your Repairs
Many experts recommend budgeting around 1% of your home’s square footage each year for repairs. That may seem like a lot, but it’s not unreasonable to work that amount into your monthly budget.
If you do choose to finance your repairs, make sure you compare loan offers. Credit cards can have high interest rates, while personal loans can be more money-savvy.
To save even more, consider buying your own materials. You can often find construction supplies at discount prices by shopping at multiple stores, comparing online reviews and taking advantage of sales. You can also save on delivery fees by scheduling a pickup instead.