Preparing as a Homeowner for Those Inevitable Major Repairs

home repair can be expensive if the homeowner doesn't know what to look for
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It’s not pleasant to think about as a homeowner, but major repairs are inevitable. Whether it’s a pipe bursting, a crack spreading in the foundation, or a broken water heater, repairs come with owning a home. Even though they are often unexpected, such repairs are more manageable when you’ve prepared. From regularly upkeeping your home to choosing the right contractor and paying for the repairs, this article is here to help you get ready for when things break.

Upkeep

One of the best ways to keep your home up to par and save money in the long run is to perform regular maintenance. While it’s difficult to remember all the tasks that need to be done monthly, every six months, and annually, these tasks are essential to keeping your home in shape:

  • Inspect the exterior each year for cracks in the driveway and foundation, loose or broken shingles on the roof, wear on the chimney, and so on.
  • Clean the gutters twice a year to maintain the stability of your foundation and roof.
  • Have your HVAC system checked twice a year. In between checkups, learn more about how you can perform simple maintenance yourself, such as changing your filters regularly (you can even sign up for a filter subscription to help you remember). The more you can do yourself, the less chance you’ll have of encountering a very costly repair.
  • Check your plumbing frequently by looking for signs of leaks under the sinks and on the ceiling, and make sure all your faucets are functioning properly.
  • Clean your chimney periodically and have it inspected once a year.

One of the easiest maintenance tasks to forget is changing your air filters. However, this is something that helps keep your home a clean environment — especially if there is major repair work being done that fills the air with dust. There are many different sizes of filters, and you can look into custom air filters if you’re having trouble finding the right ones for your home.

Finding a Contractor

Another important part of home repair is choosing the right contractor for each job. It can save a lot of time and money to prepare building plans and materials before you interview your candidates. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations of qualified and trusted contractors, and interview a few different contractors who have experience in the job that needs doing. You should also check each candidate’s state contractor’s license and certificate of insurance, and then get an estimate from each candidate to compare prices. Once you choose a contractor, it’s important to set up a payment plan and acquire a written contract.

Paying for Repairs

Now for the most dreaded aspect of major home repair: figuring out how to pay for everything. Nonetheless, having a plan for covering the costs can significantly reduce the stress of unexpected repairs. Perhaps the most effective way to prepare is by creating an emergency repair fund. Essentially a personal savings fund, this is something you manage yourself. It helps you to have money set aside for when your roof is caving in or when your basement floods, and it keeps you from having to rely on high-interest credit cards.

Typically, it’s good practice to begin your fund by contributing 10 percent of your mortgage payment each month. That is, if your mortgage is $950 per month, you would set aside $95 for future repairs. Even if your emergency repair fund isn’t built up when you need it, the goal is still to avoid debt. In that case, you may want to consider asking friends and family to borrow money, and if that isn’t an option, look into applying for a personal loan at a decent interest rate.

Inevitable major repairs come with owning a home, and having a plan will help keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Be sure to do regular maintenance, stay diligent in choosing a contractor, and start building an emergency repair fund ASAP. You may not be fully prepared for an emergency repair, but you’ll be surprised by how much even a little preparation can help.

by Jillian