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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5 Tips to Prepare a Home for Sale During the Winter Months

House for SaleUnless a residence is located in a climate that enjoys warm temperatures the year around, which is only a small part of the United States, home sales do tend to slump (at least somewhat) during the winter months. There are some steps you can take to up the ante when it comes to placing your home on the market for sale in the wintertime.

 

Be Generous with Illumination

 

During the wintertime, natural light is somewhat at a premium. This reality is coupled with the fact that in many locations across the United States, the days are cool and the nights are cold. In order to ensure your house is placed in the proverbial and literal best light you need to be generous with illumination.

 

In the daylight hours, open drapes, blinds, and shutters. Do this with every window with the only exception being one that overlooks something that is not particularly desirable. You will also want to turn on the lights. Many residential staging experts recommend turning on all lights in a residence when a house if being show for sale in the winter months. Some of these professionals go so far as to suggest placing spotlights on the floor behind some furnishings to enhance overall illumination.

 

Keep Pathways to the Residence Clear

 

Snow and ice on walkways impair the curb appeal of a residence. They also present a very real hazard. For these reasons, you must keep pathways to a residence clear of snow and ice. You need to shovel and scrape walkways even when snow of freezing is still falling.

 

Keeping paths clear conveys that a homeowner is meticulous about caring for a residence. Significantly, keeping paths from the street to the front door clear is an important step to prevent injuries at a residence.

 

Keep the Heat Up

 

If you are like many homeowners, you keep the temperature lower in order to save money. That represents an understandable strategy. With that said, when prospective buyers will be visiting your home, turn up the heat to ensure that it is comfortable.

 

The best strategy to employ is to turn up the temperature in your home a few degrees higher than normal in advance of a prospective buyer arriving at the property. This will heat up the home before a potential buyer arrives. Taking this approach tends to prevent the heating system from kicking in while a person is touring a home. Depending on the type of HVAC system in a residence, a distracting noise can permeate the residence when it turns on. You are likely used to any such interference; however, a visitor to your home will not be used to the noise.

 

Set an Idyllic Mood

 

During the winter months, you need to take extra steps to make the rooms in your home feel and look particularly inviting and cozy. Staging experts strongly encourage a homeowner to eliminate bric-a-brac in advance of showing a home to prospective buyers. With that noted, you will want to consider adding a few touches throughout the residence that convey a sense of warmth.

 

Consider placing vases filled with fresh flowers here and there throughout the house. If the fireplace is in good repair and functioning properly, lighting a fire for a buyer’s visit can be a nice touch as well.

 

Finally, consider displaying photos that present what the exterior of the residence looks like during warmer months of the year. These photos can be neatly arranged on a countertop in the kitchen or a table somewhere else in the residence.

 

Take Caution with Scents

 

You certainly want your residence to smell nice when presenting it to a potential buyer. However, you most definitely do not want to overdo. Indeed, some people are allergic to deodorizers and different types of scents.

 

More than a few Realtors have taken to using essential oils during an open house, specifically ones that emit scents like freshly baked cookies. Yes, that can prove to be a welcoming scent. However, you will find visitors looking for cookies or other munchies and you must not disappoint.

 

Going the essential oil routes (in moderation) is acceptable and prevents ovens from becoming unnecessarily dirty from baking. You can solve the cookie and munchie dilemma by preparing snacks off premises and having them set out during showings.

 

By employing these strategies you will give you residence a true leg up on the market when you seek to sell your home in the wintertime. Indeed, you are wise to utilize some of these strategies no matter the time of the year.

 

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Jessica Kane is a writer for Nick’s Building Supply, Inc., the best place for custom made or replacement front doors online.