Do You Have the Cash to Cover Common Home Repairs?

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If you’re in the process of buying your first home, you probably already know that you have to save for a down payment, put money aside for furniture, and fund an escrow account. However, there are many other expenses that you may not have considered. One of these is the cost of home repair and maintenance. Popular money blog Generation X Finance explains that “unexpected expenses that can really put a hurt on your budget if they aren’t accounted for.”

 

Before we get into specifics, let’s talk about ways you can protect yourself from overspending. First, maintain your home. This means having your major systems serviced annually, cleaning, painting, and repairing issues on the exterior as they arise, and treating your home and appliances with respect. You also have to be on the lookout for less-than-honest contractors who might dupe you into paying for repairs you don’t really need or, worse, cause damage to your property that they can conveniently fix for the “low price” of X extra dollars. Before bringing any repair professional into your home, do your research. Look online for reviews, and interview at least three service providers for each new home repair or improvement project.

 

How Much Do I Need?

 

No universal dollar amount is guaranteed to cover all of your unexpected home repairs. However, it is generally accepted that you should put aside approximately 2 to 4 percent of your home’s value specifically for this purpose. For example, if your home is valued at $350,000, plan to have at least $7,000 stashed away. And remember, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover issues related to general wear and tear or negligence.

 

Common Repairs

 

Perhaps one of the most expensive home repairs you’ll encounter is installing a new roof. If you have plain asphalt shingles, you may be able to get away with adding a second layer if the underlying structure is in good shape. Eventually, however, you’ll have to do a complete replacement, and that can cost $10,000 or more. If your roof has missing shingles, damaged flashing, or you can see visible evidence of flooding, such as discolored or water-stained walls, you may need a new roof sooner rather than later.

 

Your HVAC unit is another significant expense that can range from about $3,700 to $15,000 depending on the size of your home and type of system you need. Hyde’s Air Conditioning, a California-based HVAC company founded in 1972, explains that even a well-maintained air conditioner will only last approximately 15 years. If yours is more than 10 years old or doesn’t keep your home comfortable from season to season, it may be time for a replacement.

 

Your electrical panel is, fortunately, something you can expect to last for many decades. However, they are not without faults, and an upgrade may be necessary if the home has been added onto or if you notice signs of faulty wiring, such as discolored power outlets, flickering lights, or a burning smell. A new 200-amp electrical panel costs between $1,300 and $3,000.

 

The plumbing system is another moving part that may require periodic repairs. Leaky faucets, clogged toilets, and busted pipes can cost hundreds of dollars each incident. If you have to replace your hot water heater, you can expect a bill of up to $1,500 depending on the type and size of the unit you need. More extensive repairs, such as replacing your incoming water pipes or outgoing mainline, can cost as much as a small car.

 

Don’t let unexpected expenses turn your dream home into a nightmare. Plan ahead for major repairs, and take your time when choosing a contractor. Your situation may be urgent, but you’ll be in far worse shape if you make a rash decision now.

 

Image via Pixabay

 

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Tips for Establishing a Comfortable, Functional Home Office

Home OfficeAn ever-increasing number of people are working from home with each passing year. This includes individuals who work only from home as well as people who telecommute part of the time. As a result, the need for comfortable, functional home offices is also on the upswing.

 

The creation of a home office is something that must be undertaken strategically. In this regard, there are some specific tips to bear in mind when it comes to setting up an ideal home office.

 

Develop a Plan

 

You should not take off on pulling together a home office in a haphazard manner. Rather, you need to develop a comprehensive plan for your workspace. This includes developing a list of the critical elements that you must have for your home office. The list should cover all of the basics, like a desk, appropriate chairs, telephone, copy machine, and the like. You will also want to make certain that you identify any other special items unique to the work you will do that you need to include in your fully outfitted home office.

 

Select an Appropriate Space in Your Residence

 

Once you have developed a plan you will have a better idea of what you will need in the way of a specific space for your home office. You might have very limited options in this regard. Nevertheless, you need to make certain that the space you select for your home office can be dedicated to that use only. You need a space that will permit you privacy and a lack of distraction.

 

Work Area Versus Storage

 

A common mistake people when it comes to creating a home office is developing a great work area but forgetting about space for storage. The reality is that an office requires sufficient storage space for supplies and other purposes. Thus, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of organizing your home office, you need to make sure that you strike an appropriate balance between suitable work space and sufficient area for storage.

 

Proper Lighting

 

Another area that many a home worker fails to pay appropriate attention to is lighting. You need to make sure that you have suitable lighting for your home office. Ideally, you are able to set up your home office in a space that has a nice amount of natural lighting.

 

Beyond natural lighting, you will want to make sure that there is sufficient overhead lighting in the space. In addition, you might want to consider what best can be called task lighting. For example, you will want to ensure that you have a suitable light on your desk or other work area.

 

Dedicated Phone Line

 

This might seem like a small point but you definitely want to make sure that you have a dedicated phone line for your business. There are a number of reasons why this is important, including you really do not want to make your personal telephone line public. The reality is that a dedicated home office phone line may be a given inasmuch as many residences no longer have landlines anyway.

 

Keep Personal Matters Out of Your Home Office

 

You need to make sure that you establish firm boundaries between your home office and personal matters. A key reason why you want to take this approach as to do with taxes. If you properly maintain a work space in your home you are able to take a tax deduction for that space. You can deduct that portion of your mortgage or rent payments that can be attributed to the amount of space dedicated to your home office, provided you don’t mix business with personal in that area.

 

Another primary reason why you need to maintain firm boundaries between the home office and the rest of the residence is to better ensure your own productivity. You tend to work in your office and enjoy your personal time outside of that area.

 

Maintain Office Hours

 

One of the benefits of working from home is flexibility. With that understood, you still need to maintain a sense of discipline when it comes to conducting business from a home. As a result, you are wise to establish specific office hours each week. Establishing office hours accomplishes two important goals. Taking this approach provides you structure, which enhances efficiency. In addition, establishing specific office hours lets other people in your home know when you cannot be bothered because you are working. Everyone can plan around your office hours, provided that they are made aware of them in advance.

 

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Jessica is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage, a leading company that provide Internet fax service services for individuals and businesses.