How to Lessen the Sting of Paying for Major Home Repairs
With apologies to whomever came up with the famous quote, there are actually three certainties in life — death, taxes, and stuff going wrong with your home. Every homeowner has just completed a major home repair, is about to begin one, or is less than a couple years away from one. If you’re lucky, your homeowners insurance will cover the bill. Unfortunately, there are plenty of things that home insurance simply doesn’t help with. Here are some tips for covering the cost of a major home repair and making it hurt a little less.
Prevent bad things from happening in the first place
The best way to save money on major home repairs is to not need a major home repair. With that in mind, it’s critical you do at least the bare minimum of home maintenance projects to ward off disaster. One big thing to remember is to extend the life of your HVAC unit by replacing the filter every three months. You should check your filter’s MERV rating (a measure of efficiency). Repair any leaks — however small — to avoid major structural damage. Clean your gutters regularly. Treat your pipes to avoid winter bursting. It’s the little things that will keep you from shelling out cash later on.
Keep your home repair fund flush
Every homeowner should have a savings account that is only used for home repairs. This account should be separate from the one you use to fund travel at the end of the year, fixing your car, and anything else. The age and overall shape of your home will determine how much you need to keep in your home repair fund, but as a general rule, you should add at least 1% of the cost of your home each year. For example, for a $200,000 home, you would put $2,000 into the fund every year. You can probably max it out at around $10,000. Know what things cost so you can properly plan.
Think HELOC and other remedies before you swipe the plastic
You should consider paying for home repairs with a credit card a last resort. Interest rates tend to be high enough that you can find yourself in perpetual home repair debt. If something happens and you need money right away, consider a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). You can use this to borrow cash against your home’s value. Whatever you use will be added to your total home debt.
Other ways to pay include government assistance, federal disaster relief, and community housing programs — but these only help if your home was damaged in a specific manner. You can always try a personal loan from your bank, and this is probably the best lending option you have if you can’t get a loan from a family member or friend.
Be smart about who does the repairs
If you are handy and can take on some of the repairs yourself, then by all means, do them. It will save you money — that is, unless you really don’t know what you’re doing and your DIY project blows up in your face. Be smart. Know your skills, but more importantly, know your limitations.
When you inevitably have to call in the pros, one way to save money is to do your due diligence when selecting a contractor, electrician, plumber, or whichever specialist you need to fix what’s broken. Shiretown Glass in Plymouth, offers all of these services and more, and each of the specialists we use are expert in their craft.
We encourage customers to do the homework necessary to ensure that we are the right fit for the job! Almost every customer we get is recommended to us by people you trust. Ask them about Shiretown Glass, and work with us knowing we have the credentials and licensing to do the job.
If you own a home, major home repairs are inevitable, and they really can bring the pain. Accepting that they are a part of your life is the first step, but you don’t have to accept total financial ruin because something went wrong with your house. Be smart, save, and plan.