When you became a homeowner you were instantly filled with a sense of freedom and achievement. You might still feel that way, but now you have a better idea of what comes with homeownership: the joys of maintenance. Expensive home repairs are a necessary part of homeownership that can quickly put a damper on things. The good news is that you can easily cover home repairs if you plan ahead…here’s how:
Start a Repair Fund
That irritating sound your toilet has started to make as it fills and drains is a sure sign of a leaky fill valve? You’ll need a plumber, which could set you back about $200. Noticing a leak in your ceiling? You could need a local roofer, which may run you around $6,800, depending on the amount of work that needs to be done. Notice mice or mouse droppings throughout your home? Then it might be time to call in the assistance of a rodent control service. Unfortunately, these are among the many repairs that will cost you a pretty penny. You can’t predict when something in your home will break or stop working properly, but you can prepare for the expense by starting a home maintenance and repair fund. The ideal amount to set aside is around 10 percent of your monthly mortgage payment, but every little bit adds up.
Tap Into Your Home’s Equity
Another way to pay for unexpected expenses is by using the equity in your home to gain fast access to cash. One option is a cash out refinance in which you replace your current mortgage with a new, higher balance loan. You receive the difference between the two loans and use it for repairs. In addition, you may find that the terms of the new loan are better, becoming an added bonus. Another option to pay for home repairs is by using a home equity line of credit (HELOC). In this scenario you borrow against your home’s equity, using your home as collateral. You are required to make monthly payments, so the loan is similar to a second mortgage.
Check With Your Insurance Company
One of the most expensive home repairs you’ll probably encounter is roofing repairs or a replacement. Hail and wind are the most common culprits of roof damage, but most insurance policies include dwelling coverage. Should you notice roof damage, spring a leak, or experience a bad storm, it can’t hurt to have an inspection done for signs of damage that might be covered by your policy.
Stay on Top of Home Maintenance
At some point, your home will need a major repair, but with regular home maintenance you can prevent costly repairs or catch problems before they balloon into a more expensive issue. Each month you should change your HVAC filter as well as flush out your kitchen drain with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. There are seasonal tasks to stay on top of as well. The Spruce has a great list of seasonal maintenance tasks to ensure your home is taken care of and in tiptop shape. If you notice anything while you are performing home maintenance tasks, go ahead and call in a professional before the minor repair turns into a major one.
Find the Right Contractor
Another expensive piece of the repair puzzle is the contractor, but finding the right one is important so you can rest easy knowing the job is done right. While a handyman can tackle small jobs and repairs, a professional, licensed contractor such as an electrician, plumber, roofer, etc. is best for big jobs. Be sure to interview several candidates and get at least two to three bids. Don’t forget to check licensing and insurance as well. Be wary of potential scams such as a contractor who asks for payment upfront or will only give a verbal quote, as opposed to a price locked in writing.
Home repairs wait for no one, so start putting money into a repair fund now and don’t neglect home maintenance. If you need a repair immediately, find savvy ways to pay such as tapping into home equity or looking to your insurance policy. At the end of the day, with the right contractor you can have your home back to normal in no time.
Article Courtesy of Julian Lane
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