A rule of thumb when determining how much money to set aside for ongoing home maintenance is to budget 1 percent of the home’s purchase price each year.
If your home cost $300,000, then setting aside $3,000 per year is a good start. You may not spend that much every year on home maintenance, but it can be a good idea to save that much whether you spend it or not in a given year. Setting aside up to 3 percent of your home’s purchase price would give you more room for bigger maintenance costs. Here are some to plan for:
Leaking roof: Sometimes a leaking roof can be as simple to fix as replacing a few shingles or hammering down one that popped off. But an older roof of 15 years or more may be in poor condition and could require a complete replacement. A new roof can cost $5,000 or more.
Broken air conditioner: If you’re not getting cool air from your air conditioner, then an inspection by a heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) professional is probably needed. General maintenance of a few hundred dollars may solve the problem, but an old unit of 15 years or so may need to be replaced, costing about $5,000.
Leaks: Pipes can last a long time, but sometimes they leak or a small gap in the bathroom floor, for example, can lead to water stains below. This can lead to mold and other problems, and the leak should be found and fixed quickly.
A small leak can cost a few hundred dollars to fix, while broken pipes can cost thousands of dollars and may require you to ask your home insurance company if it will cover the loss if the cost is more than your deductible.
Pests: Ants, spiders, mice, squirrels and other pests can make your home their home, requiring immediate extermination or some sort of plan to get rid of them. Termites can be discovered during a home inspection, though a clean inspection may only give you peace of mind for a year if they hatch in your neighbor’s home and fly into yours.
Removing termites can cost $2,000 or so, while getting rid of ants and spiders may only require a $5 can of spray you can buy at a hardware store.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist who specializes in personal finance topics.