Cost of maintaining house. First-time house buyers are always surprised by the cost to budget money for maintaining the house. Gone are the days of calling the landlord to pay the bill for fixing appliances and other stuff. For example, how much are you paying in the monthly mortgage and home insurance premiums?
It can all add up. Homeowners can spend tens of thousands of dollars maintaining and improving their homes over the course of a lifetime. Of course, how much you spend will depend on the shape of the house when you bought it.
“A new central air conditioning unit or roof can wreck an already strained budget,” said Kim Womack, director of education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of South Texas, a non-profit community service organization that offers debt and credit counseling and education. “That’s why it’s important to have a home maintenance budget.”
Assess your needs. If the central air conditioning unit is 15 years old, you might start saving for a new one. Make a list of what you need to keep your home functional and what you would like to do to enhance it.
Create a home maintenance budget. Once you know what you need and how much it will cost, develop a spending plan. This will help you prioritize your expenses and spread them out so you aren’t hit with a flurry of bills all at once.
Do it yourself. While a roof repair might be too much for many homeowners, many can replace a cooling system air filter or place caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors.
Start a savings plan. Open a special home maintenance and home improvement savings account and make monthly deposits. If you belong to a credit union through your job, have the money taken directly from your paycheck and deposited in your account. You are less likely to spend money you don’t see.