How to Plan for Unexpected House Repairs

How to Plan for House Repairs as New Homeowners
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

I recently celebrated my two year anniversary of being a homeowner and it just so happened to coincide with getting my driveway redone. This seemingly simple home renovation project was a big deal because it costs thousands of dollars and I spent months saving for it. As you might have guessed, compared to when I was living at home with mom, saving is a lot harder these days. On top of monthly bills, as a homeowner, I’m responsible for the mortgage payments, taxes, sewage, home insurance and more. Yet, before I started saving for nice-to-have home improvement projects, I made sure that I had enough money set aside for unexpected home repairs. Fixing a leaky toilet and removing two large wasp nests from my backyard could have easily derailed my savings goals this summer but all went without a hitch because I planned for home maintenance costs ahead of time and saved accordingly. For those who want to stay ahead of the curve, here are three ways to plan for house repairs. 

Anticipate Future Repair Costs

One of the first things I recommend to new homeowners is anticipating future repair costs. Generally, the older the home, the more you’ll spend on maintenance and upkeep. 

Although I spent a lot of money upfront to repair my home when I first bought it, I don’t regret it. By getting a new roof, water heater, plumbing system and replacing all of the windows, I haven’t had to worry about unexpected repairs because everything is relatively new. If all holds up, I’m good for the next 10-30 years!

However, if you’re unable to make certain repairs when you first move in, get estimates for how much the most common house repairs will cost. Recently I found out that I needed to replace my fuel tank which costs $3,200. 

As a rule of thumb, set aside 1% of your home’s purchase price each year for ongoing maintenance, but if your repair estimates amount to more than that, save whichever amount is larger. 

For example, if you bought a house for $200,000, budget $2,000 a year for maintenance.

The most common repair costs include:

  • New roof
  • Hot water heater
  • Exterior siding
  • Repair plumbing or install new pipes
  • Remove mold
  • Foundation repair
  • Cracked cement
  • Electrical issues
  • Heating/Air conditioning
  • Termite damage

Start a House Maintenance Fund

If you don’t already have a separate bank account for home repairs, now is a good time to get started. After you’ve determined how much you should save, start a house maintenance fund and save up for it.

Personally, I like banking with Ally Bank because opening up a new bank account is easy and the competitive interest rates help grow your money. There are also no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.

Having money set aside for unexpected house repairs will help you avoid dipping into your emergency fund which should be used for unforeseen expenses, not things that you know will happen at some point like home repairs. I always aim to have at least $1,000 saved up for unexpected home repairs in my home maintenance fund.

Helpful Tip: Save your spare change and reach your financial goals sooner by signing up for micro-saving apps.

Managing Your Money As A New Homeowner by Danielle Desir

Home Warranty

Another way to plan for home repairs is to purchase a home warranty.

A home warranty or home protection plan is a service agreement that covers the repair or replacement of major home components and appliances. This agreements typically last a year. Some important things to look for in home warranties company reviews include 24/7 service calls, optional coverage options and low chance of claim denial.

Although coverage depends on where you live and the type of property you have, home warranty typically covers kitchen appliances, central air, electricity, plumbing systems, washer and dryer, roof leaks, door bells, garbage disposals and more. Double check your policy to see what’s covered.

How does it work?

When something covered by your home warranty breaks down, call the home warranty company and they will send out one of their contracted service providers. If the repair or replacement is covered by the warranty, they complete the work. You’ll have to pay a small service fee of $75-$150 for every service call on top of the annual fee which ranges from $300 to $600 a year.

New homeowners who do not have the experience to maintain a home or enough savings can use a home warranty to avoid expensive repairs. You also don’t have to worry about finding a contractor you trust, this is all taken care of for you.

Line of Credit

Lastly, opening a line of credit with a bank or credit union can help you offset the cost of home projects. While this is not something I recommend, I can understand why a lot of people want to pursue this option.

What is a line of credit?

Unlike a loan where you start paying interest immediately on the amount you borrowed, regardless of when you use the funds, with a line of credit, you only pay interest when you draw money from the amount that the bank agreed to loan you.

For example: You have a $30,000 line of credit with the bank and draw down $10,000 to replace your roof. As you payback the loan, your available credit replenishes. You only pay interest on the $10,000 you borrowed not the total amount loaned to you. Once you pay back the $10,000 you can borrow up to $30,000 again.

I hope you found these tips for planning home repairs helpful.

As a homeowner, what are you struggling with right now?

Feeling overwhelmed by your personal finances and need to rein in your spending? Grab a copy of my ebook Managing Your Money As Your New Homeowner.

In this book we cover:

  • Why you need several bank accounts after purchasing a home.
  • How to create an automated workflow for making on-time monthly mortgage payments.
  • Tips for pricing out repairs and setting renovation projects as financial goals, and more. 
How to fund home repairs? How to save for house maintenance costs?
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10 replies
  1. Norman knights says:

    Thank you for the helpful post on home improvement. I found your tips on decluttering and organizing to be especially useful.

    I also appreciated your reminder to prioritize maintenance and repairs, including those for the roof. As someone who has had to deal with a leaky roof in the past, I know firsthand how important it is to keep up with regular inspections and repairs to prevent bigger problems down the line.

    Best regards,
    Norman knights

  2. Adrienne Crawford says:

    Great article on planning for house repairs! I especially appreciated the section on creating a home repair fund and setting a budget for repairs. It’s so important to have a plan in place for unexpected repairs and to avoid getting caught off guard financially. This article provides great tips for prioritizing repairs and getting multiple quotes from contractors to ensure you get the best deal possible. Thanks for sharing these helpful insights!

  3. Henry Killingsworth says:

    It was interesting when you mentioned that water heaters are included in the most common repair costs. I would think that hiring a reliable home maintenance professional would be a good way to lower costs. A professional would be able to perform preventative maintenance that can help your heater from breaking down.

  4. Plumber1Lasvegas says:

    Great Article
    Maintenance is important when it comes to plumbing in your house.
    Knowing when to flush the commode, replace the toilet seal ring, clean out drains with a high-powered jet of water can all prevent major blockages and costly repairs. Understanding how long you should run faucets at bath time or for automatic dishwashers helps avoid wasteful runoffs. Fixing leaking pipes not only saves money but also avoids wasting water by making small drips large leaks over time.
    You will need to buy tools like a plunger, plier-type pipe wrenchtape measure, wire cutters and work gloves at some point during every project too avoid problems caused by working with budget materials or having improper tools on

  5. Eric Crown says:

    Great article. The Home Repair bank account is a great idea that I have not seen elsewhere. Without a doubt, home repairs can wreck a homeowner with unexpected expenses. Home warranty can work, I prefer save and pay as you go. It also pays to have your own homebuyer’s home inspection prior to purchasing a home.


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