Saving Money for Your First-Home Repairs

Many homebuyers don't think about home repairs when buying a home.


When buying your first home, there are many things to think about – mortgage payments, property taxes, the increased utility bills and the upkeep of the home. But most inexperienced home buyers do not expect to do repairs to a home after moving in, especially if the home has had a professional inspection. Unfortunately, passing inspection does not mean that the house does not need any repairs. Even if you move into a condo or a townhome, you could be financially responsible for repairs shortly after moving in.

So how do you avoid this type of disaster? You don’t. The best thing you can do, however, is to be prepared to make repairs shortly after you move into a new home. Here are some tips to help you prepare yourself.

Home Inspections are Not Foolproof
A qualified home inspector can point out many things that may need repairs on your home. It may need a new roof in the next five years, repairs to the plumbing system and many other things. However, an inspector can only see so much. There could be problems lurking behind the walls that the inspector can’t see or there could be problems that an inspector cannot predict. That’s why it is important to have some money saved up to make those unexpected repairs so you are not left in a financial lurch after moving in.

Prices are Unexpected
There is no way to tell how much it will cost to have repairs done until a professional comes and looks at the problem. For instance, a roof could need a simple repair that could cost a few hundred dollars or it may need to be completely replaced which could cost several thousand dollars. And in addition to that, you have to factor in the square footage of the roof, the type of roof want installed and much more. There are consumer websites (such as Angie’s List) where people post reviews of local contractors that they have worked with and many of these reviews include the size and cost of the job that the customer had done.

Have a Maintenance Budget
Repairs are one expense, but maintenance is something else. Without proper maintenance, the parts that make up your house will deteriorate quicker and break down more often. Changing the air filters in your air conditioner, sealing your driveway regularly and other preventative procedures may cost some money now, but they can save you thousands more in the future.

Here’s the point: If you are moving into a new house, be prepared to spend some money on repairs within the first couple years. Have some money set aside for repairs or buy a slightly less expensive home with a smaller down payment so you will have a good stash for emergency repairs.

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