Becoming a homeowner is one of the most exciting milestones in life, but alongside the excitement comes the extra responsibilities we aren’t familiar with when renting or living with family. A key area to get familiar with is home maintenance and repairs, which includes making a plan for how you will manage the costs involved. From a broken roof or boiler and general wear and tear on your carpets to coping with damage caused by extreme weather, the costs can be considerable. The older the home you are purchasing the more important it is that you are prepared for home repairs when they are needed.
Here are 5 money saving maintenance tips for new homeowners.
Save a little each month
To avoid having to face a surprise repair bill, save money for home maintenance each month and put it in an emergency fund. There is a school of thought which says that you should save 1-4% of your home’s purchase price for annual maintenance and repairs. If your home is over 20 years old, in an area prone to extreme weather, was poorly maintained by previous homeowners and/or is in an area with higher than average labor and material costs, add another 5-10% onto your annual savings. Put the money aside in instant-access savings account so you can keep it separate from vacation savings or money for everyday use.
Take out a home warranty
Taking out a home warranty could save you money on your home maintenance and put your mind at ease. With a home warranty covering your appliances and key home systems, you can pay an affordable monthly fee so that if/when something goes wrong, it will be fixed or replaced for free.
Keep on top of home maintenance
Prevention is better than cure, so to reduce your repair bills, keep on top of your general home maintenance. This should include getting your heating and air conditioning systems serviced every year, protecting your home from the winter weather and repairing minor faults before they become expensive problems. The earlier you can identify and fix a problem, the less it is going to cost to put right.
Save money on your household budget
You can boost your home repair savings by reducing other areas of your spending. For example, by reducing your energy usage, switching to a cheaper utility tariff and being strict with your groceries shopping can all add a little more to your savings. By cutting costs in these areas you can relieve some of the pressure from your maintenance and repairs fund.
Learn some basic DIY
Home repairs can be costly but this is often because of the labor costs. Paying a professional to come to your property, give you a price, source the materials and carry out the job can ramp up the price quickly. To avoid this, try to learn some basic DIY skills so you can take care of smaller jobs without needing a professional. With some patience and trial and error, you might be surprised at what you can achieve.