As a home owner, you should know what the cost of a home consists of: a down payment, closing costs, mortgage, insurance, etc. What many may overlook, is how much it costs to maintain a home for the future. From a broken pipe to a leaky roof, you can’t always predict when a major home improvement project will be needed, but you can be certain that they will be occur. That’s why it’s important to have some kind of plan for when they happen. Here is some advice on how to prepare for major home repairs as a homeowner in the Pittsburgh Area.
No matter what your financial situation is, the best way to pay for home improvements is to do it without racking up tons of debt. Using a credit card should be a last resort because you could end up paying astronomical amounts of interest. Instead, start a rainy day fund where you regularly allocate a certain amount of money for larger unexpected repairs, either through a savings account or by keeping a money jar.
How much you save is up to you, but it’s difficult to say that you will ever have too much in your rainy day fund. While $5,000 is a good goal to push for, since major repairs are inevitable and you can’t always predict them, it may be best to plan on saving indefinitely.
Home Improvement Loan
There may be instances where you don’t have your rainy day fund built up enough to cover a repair. In that case, it’s still ideal to avoid using a credit card. Consider taking out a home improvement loan. These days, you can easily apply for home improvement loans online, and many of them start with an interest rate of less than 5 percent, which is a much lower rate than your typical credit card.
Schedule Regular Home Inspections
Finding issues before they occur is a major part of being able to repair the needed item before it gets too costly. Scheduling a home inspection in the Pittsburgh Area is key.
While using general rules of thumb can be a good place to start, there’s a more effective way of knowing how much to save for major home repairs: estimating the actual costs. Every big-ticket item of your home (e.g., roof, foundation, HVAC system, plumbing) has a life expectancy, which means you can roughly plan for when it will need to be replaced or repaired and how much it will cost (e.g., the average roof replacement costs anywhere from $1,700 to $8,500). Have your home thoroughly inspected so that you can get an idea of how old each component is, and keep track of it so you can know how much to save. This process requires time and diligence, but it can save you a lot of trouble down the road.