Repairs are rarely part of the equation when calculating what a home costs — but they should be. Home repairs are expensive, with the average US homeowner spending over $6,000 on home repairs and improvements in a year. If you don’t factor repairs into your budget, you could end up in a sticky financial situation.
We’re here to tell you the best way to pay for home repairs so your house and your finances stay in good shape. We’ll also tell you what you can expect to pay for common home repairs so there are no surprises when you get the bill.
Hiring Contractors and Avoiding Scams
Your choice of contractor has a huge impact on what you pay for home repairs. A quality contractor might not be the cheapest, but they’ll do a good job at a fair price. A bad contractor, on the other hand, can cause more problems than they solve. From shoddy work to contractors that don’t carry insurance, there are a lot of financial risks when you hire an untrustworthy contractor.
This is what Nationwide Insurance recommends you look for when hiring contractors:
- Recommendations from family, friends, or builder’s associations
- Proper licensure, bonding, and insurance
- Detailed bids that list all expenses included materials and labor
- A written contract with clearly defined payment terms
These tips will help you work effectively with contractors and protect your home:
- Try to be on-site to monitor progress, answer questions, and address problems
- Know that changes will happen and track them in writing when they do
- Have clear expectations about clean-up and include it in the contract
- Move personal items out of construction areas and cover items that can’t be moved with plastic sheeting
- Replace air filters before major repairs to prevent a dusty home. If your local store doesn’t have the right sized filter, you can buy custom filters online
Planning for Major Home Repairs
Homeowners should know the age of their home’s major systems and average replacement costs so they can plan for repairs accordingly. Exact prices vary by region, but these numbers from The Simple Dollar offer a starting point:
Lifespan: 20-30 years
Replacement cost: $5,000-$12,000
Lifespan: 60-100 years, unless damaged
Replacement cost: $6,000-$10,000
Furnace and Air Conditioner
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Replacement cost: $3,000-$6,000 per system
Hot Water Heater
Lifespan: 8-15 years
Replacement cost: $500-$1,200 tank; $1,500-$3,000 tankless
Lifespan: 10-30 years for panels, 10-15 years for openers and springs
Replacement cost: $400-$3,000
Paying for Home Repairs
If a repair isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance, it’s on you to pay for it. But how? These are the best options to pay for home repairs.
Saving for Home Repairs
The best way to pay for any repair or remodeling project is in cash because you don’t pay interest. Put one percent of your home’s value into a home repair fund every year. You might not spend that amount each year, but the accumulated savings help you afford the expensive projects.
Sometimes paying cash isn’t an option. If your home needs a major repair before you’ve saved enough money, you’ll need to finance the repairs to prevent a bigger problem from developing.
SoFi recommends these financing options to pay for home repairs.
- Personal loan
- Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
- Cash-out refinance
Taking on the responsibility of home repairs is one of the biggest differences between renting and owning a home, but many homeowners fail to plan for home repair expenses. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Create a repair and maintenance schedule for your home and start your home repair fund so you maintain your home’s value for the long-term.