How much to budget for home maintenance
A little knowledge and planning goes a long way in understanding how much to budget for home maintenance.
Very little can cause worry more quickly than an unexpected home repair. From the roof to the furnace (and every appliance in between), the major components of a house can cost several hundred to many thousands of dollars to repair or replace. While homeowners can't escape home maintenance or updates, they can help prevent those financial surprises by preparing early for inevitable fixes. Here are some important things to consider and plan for.
Average lifespan of a house
Of course, wear and tear, maintenance, location and the quality of the original item or material all impact the length of time that elements from windows to air conditioners will last. Here are averages from various sources:
- Roof (asphalt shingles): 15-30 years
- Furnace: 20-30 years
- Central air conditioner: 12-17 years
- Water heater (tank type): 8-12 years
- Garage door opener: 10-15 years
- Windows (wood): 20 years
According to Rockethomes, appliances average:
- Washing machine: 13 years
- Dryer: 13 years
- Refrigerator: 13 years
- Range: 14 years
- Dishwasher: 9 years
How much should you save each year for maintenance on your home?
Don't get caught with empty pockets. Set aside a portion of your monthly budget in a home repair fund or emergency fund. Keeping the money separate also makes it harder to spend it on something else. Even a small amount can quickly add up. A rule of thumb is to set aside 1%-4% of your home's value for a home maintenance fund. For example, for a home valued at $200,000, you would budget $2,000 to $8,000 per year to spend on annual upkeep.
It's one thing to know how long something will last but it's quite another to figure out how much to save. In general, it helps to prioritize based on age. For example, if your roof is 20 years old, you probably have just a few years before you need to invest in a replacement. When it comes to a 5 year old furnace, on the other hand, you may not need to save for another decade.
Once you've created a priority list, set some savings goals based on these average home maintenance costs for replacement. Here are potential cost ranges:
- Roof (asphalt): $5,443 – $11,206
- Deck (wood/composite): $15 – $30 per square foot
- Furnace: $2,150 – $5,900
- Central air conditioner: $3,811 – $7,480
- Water heater (gas/electric): $812 – $1,575
- Garage door opener: $218 – $511
- Windows: $200 – $1,800 each
Appliance costs tend to vary based on brand and features, from about $400 to $1,000 for most items. However, higher-end options can cost several thousand dollars more than that.
Good maintenance practices
Start taking action now to minimize the potential financial havoc of home repairs.
- Perform routine maintenance. In order to prolong the life of your home's systems and appliances, regular maintenance is important. Create a schedule for inspecting and cleaning components and for regular to-dos such as replacing filters.
- Make repairs a priority. A minor issue can quickly escalate into an expensive problem. Even if a professional is required, repairs may generally be less costly than a replacement.