Budgeting for home upkeep is an important part of owning a home. Not only will you need to pay for regular maintenance for upkeep to appliances and home systems, but surprise repair and replacement costs can occur. Having money set aside for these routine and unexpected expenses can make homeownership easier on your finances. We’ll cover some typical home upkeep costs and how to budget for them.
How much does home upkeep cost?
The cost to maintain your house can depend on the size of your home, its age and what maintenance you choose to DIY or pay someone else to do. For example, a fixer-upper could cost more to maintain than a new home or a recently renovated one. Below are some examples of potential home-related costs to budget for:
These are examples of monthly or ongoing costs you might encounter.
|Lawn care||$48 - $207|
|House cleaning||$30 - $50 per hour|
|Pest control||$40 - $70 per month|
|A/C services||$50 - $300|
Below are examples of annual expenses and other costs that could come up less frequently.
|Tree trimming||$315 - $700|
|HVAC maintenance||$85 - $170|
|Water heater maintenance||$39 - $1,700|
|Fireplace and chimney sweeping||$130 - $380|
|Gutter gleaning||$119 - $227|
|Exterior power washing||$193 - $408|
|Pool maintenance||$110 - $351|
Ad hoc expensesBelow are examples of one-off expenses you might encounter due to a system breakdown or aging of your home’s structures.
|Appliance replacement||$350 - $8,000|
|Roof replacement||$5,703 - $12,328|
|Deck repair||$797 - $3,173|
|Heater or cool system replacement||$5,000 - $12,500|
How do you factor home upkeep costs into your budget?
One general recommendation is to have 1% to 4% of your home’s value stashed away in savings for routine and surprise home maintenance costs each year. So, if your home is worth $500,000, your goal would be to have $5,000 to $20,000 saved.
A second way to figure out how much to budget for home upkeep per year is going by the square footage method, where you budget $1 per square foot. For a 2,000-square-foot home, would mean budgeting $2,000 annually for home upkeep. While this may be a good starting point, it could be worth putting some extra money aside for years you might have major expenses, like a roof, HVAC system or appliance replacement.
Understandably, saving several thousand dollars for home upkeep might feel intimidating, but putting away a percentage of your income each month can help you get there. Devoting any cash windfalls you get from a tax refund, bonus or commission could also give you a head start on increasing your savings balance.
How can you reduce the cost of home upkeep?
Finding ways to cut costs can help the money you save for home repairs go further. Here are four ways to potentially keep costs low:
Consider learning how to do simple maintenance and repairs like unclogging a drain and replacing air filters. If you have the time, divvying up chores between people in your household, like cleaning, mowing the lawn, gardening, shoveling snow and raking leaves, could also save you some bucks.
Purchasing a home or appliance warranty could help cover the cost of home systems and appliance malfunctions. But for warranties to be cost-effective, the money you save on repairs needs to exceed how much you pay for the service contract itself, and that could be a gamble.
Get referrals for low-cost repair people
When you need to hire someone to do maintenance work, looking in your network to find an affordable friend or preferred repair person could help you keep costs low.
Look for budget fixes
If you need to do a renovation or repair, shopping around for budget fixtures, materials, appliances or paint can make upkeep costs manageable.
While saving money on home maintenance is good, be careful not to sacrifice quality for price or cut corners since your home is an important asset. Sometimes spending more for higher-value items or repairs could help them last longer, resulting in less money spent overall.
Smaller jobs around the house could be easy to learn how to do, but when it comes to clearing gutters, electrical work and other major tasks, it may be better to call the professionals. After all, you don’t want to hurt yourself trying to save money, and putting a bandage on a problem could cause further damage to your home if it persists.
The bottom line
Besides upfront costs like a home down payment and closing costs, owning a home comes with other expenses that can be difficult to pay if you don’t have money saved.
When household costs arise that you can’t cover with cash, using a personal loan or credit card could bridge a financial gap.