When my parents put their home of thirty years on the market, it became known as a fixer-upper. For a big property in a good area, they received a paltry sum because it required a lot of work for the home to be worth owning. If they had been updating the property and stayed on top of home maintenance, it would have been a different story.
Of course, they had never intended for the home to require a lot of work. When they bought their house, they were young and knew nothing about being homeowners. Their mortgage budget did not include money set aside for maintenance costs.
This is an everyday reality for new homeowners. Owning a home requires an input of both time and money. If you get behind on home maintenance, you can find yourself stuck with two options: go into debt or let your home decay. Possibly even both.
For those in the market for a new home, here are three ways you can stay on top of home maintenance.
Select a Lower Mortgage
We all want to buy the best home we can find. It’s human nature! It’s very common for people to want to stretch their budget.
Once you find out from the bank how much they will loan you, house hunters often turn a blind any to anything lower. Unfortunately, this means you will have little extra money at the end of the month to spend on unexpected home expenses.
By selecting a less expensive home (i.e. cheaper mortgage), you can keep money aside for inevitable maintenance and repairs. This approach does require you to be disciplined every month with your budget. Ultimately, you will need to use much of this fund this year or the next on upkeep, so that home will increase in value.
Don’t forget, staying on top of home maintenance will keep your home functioning more efficiently it will also save you money in the long run. Hopefully, maintenance will be less than average and you might even have some extra unused cash.
Get a Home Warranty
While putting money aside for home out of pocket home repairs can be effective, but it can come with problems. Any maintenance that comes up soon after moving into a new house will most likely exceed your current savings. And most people struggle to be disciplined enough to keep adding to this fund.
Another alternative is paying for a home warranty. With a warranty, your maintenance needs are covered by the monthly premium and service cost. Here are some of the best home warranties in Kentucky Review their features and decide which fits best with your home and your budget. A home warranty also gives you peace of mind knowing that the costs will be coved.
Prioritize Repairs and Home Maintenance
If you already own a home and do not have a warranty or maintenance money set-aside, you still need to find a way to pay for any needed repairs. The key is to prioritize! Instead of fixing an appliance that you rarely need, make sure you repair the most important parts of your home first. This means water leaks, electrical, plumbing and HVAC all deserve prompt attention.
Don’t spend money on cosmetic things like painting or new floors until you have put aside some money towards home maintenance. This goes for buying new furniture too!
Things that are broken don’t suddenly become fixed. The longer you ignore a problem in your home, the bigger the repair bill will be. Sometimes you or your friends might be able to tackle a DIY project to save a few bucks. The big-ticket items need a professional to make sure they’re done right.