Preparing for the Unexpected: How to Plan and Pay for Major Home Repairs

No homeowner wants to face an unexpected repair. Unfortunately, major home repairs are inevitable for us all at some point. If you fail to plan or save for repairs, they can do a serious number on your wallet, and most homeownersunderestimate how costly it is to upgrade or repair. With that in mind, here are some ways you can plan for the costs of major home repairs so you can protect one of your biggest investments.

DIY vs. Pro

DIY home improvement is all the rage, and sometimes this practice saves money. However, larger projects require the right tools, experience, and skill level for the job. As Men’s Health magazine notes, certain projects are easy to tackle, but hiring a pro when you’re out of your depth can save you a lot of money and hassle.

Know your limits and be willing to ask for help when you need it. Simple jobs like painting a room or basic HVAC maintenance are within most homeowners’ capabilities. When it comes to large projects that deal with electrical wires, plumbing, or roofing, though, you might be better off calling an expert. Similarly, bigger projects like a basement remodel or new deck can be pretty involved. If you don’t have the time, energy, tools or skills, call a pro.

Choosing the Right Contractor

Contractors are sometimes more affordable than you might think. Take for instance the cost to repair or partially replace vinyl siding. This sort of job typically averages $7,222. By doing your research and price shopping (depending on the project) for the most affordable and qualified contractors for the job, you’ll save time and can be confident the job is handled correctly.

When choosing a contractor, avoid anyone who uses scare tactics, verbal (rather than written) quotes, or demands upfront payment. These are all red flags that you might be dealing with a scammer. Instead, find trustworthy, experienced contractors with positive reviews who come highly recommended.

Saving Up

Although home insurance covers some costs, Braden Insurance explains your insurance won’t cover everything. That’s why it’s wise to build a home repair fund. Your savings can help cover everything from routine home maintenance to emergency fixes.

Here are some ways to save:

  • Emergency funds – Generally speaking, it’s important for everyone to build up an emergency fund. Typically, it’s advised that you have three to six months’ worth of expenses set aside in case you lose your job or are beset by another life-changing event. An easy way to tackle this is to have money automatically withdrawn from your checking account every time you get paid. You won’t miss the money, and it will slowly build into a fund you can access when you need it.
  • Budgeting for home maintenance – After you’ve saved up your nest egg as an emergency fund, you’re done, right? Not quite. It’s best to continue saving 1-3% of your total home cost each year, says HGTV. In doing so, you’ll maintain a decent sum of money in the bank to cover any unexpected costs or major repairs, including roof repairs, water damage, or any HVAC issues.
  • Using Home Equity – You can also add to your home repair fund by refinancing. Your best bet may be a cash out refinance, which will make for a bigger home loan, but you’ll be able to pocket some extra cash for home repairs. Lenders like PennyMac can guide you through the process of selecting and applying for a loan.

As CBS explains, we live in a world where more Americans than ever before are reportedly feeling stressed out and anxious. Luckily, your home doesn’t have to be one of your stress factors. It should be a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed.

Save up for a rainy day by starting your very own emergency home repair fund. Rather than DIYing major fixes, outsource those fixes to skilled local contractors. From plumbing to HVAC repairs, you can maintain your home without breaking the bank.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

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