Personal Resource Center
1. Replacing the water heater
Most water heaters last for only eight to 10 years. How can you tell when your water heater might need to be replaced? Funny noises might become the norm, leaks could begin, or it may stop heating the water like it used to. Even if you notice none of these signs, it's a good idea to replace your water heater if it's more than 10 years old. Otherwise, it could start leaking while you're away, possibly causing extensive damage to your home. Expect to pay around $1,000 for a new water heater.1
2. Repairing or replacing the HVAC unit
Anyone who lives in the South knows the importance of air conditioning during the hot summer months, and heating is just as important when it finally does get cold. So budgeting for a functioning heating and cooling system is necessary. You can wait until your heating or air system breaks, but that could leave you uncomfortable until you can get it fixed or replaced. It's wise to call an HVAC repair service for routine maintenance in the fall and spring.
If you hear noises or if your system isn't heating or cooling sufficiently, it might be time for a repair or complete replacement. Most HVAC systems last 10 to 15 years. The cost to replace one varies depending on the system you pick, but expect to pay in the range of $6,000 to $12,000, on average.2
3. Repainting the home's exterior
The heat, sun, storms, and humidity that are typical in the Southeast can significantly impact your home's exterior paint. If you live near the coast, sand and ocean breezes will also take a toll on your home's exterior. Regular upkeep is necessary to keep your home looking good and also to prevent rot, mold, and termite infestation.
Your home's finish usually determines how often you need to paint:
- About every four years for wood siding
- Around every six years for aluminum siding or stucco
- Every 10 to 15 years for fiber cement siding.
4. Replacing the roof
Do you see stains on your ceiling or walls? How about roof shingles that are curling or cracked? If you notice any of that, it's time to get a roof inspection. You may be able to repair your roof by replacing a shingle or two, or you might need a whole new roof. Asphalt shingle roofs, the most common type, typically last about 20 years. Plan on spending around $6,000 for a new roof in the Southeast, where roofs typically cost less than in other parts of the country.4 The cost varies depending on factors such as roof size, pitch, and materials used. An average-sized roof is about 1,700 square feet.
5. Keeping trees trimmed
Tree canopies found in much of the Southeast are certainly beautiful and provide much-needed shade during the summertime. But trees can cause damage to homes, particularly after a windstorm — if a limb or the whole tree falls on your house. You can help prevent a catastrophe by using a tree service every few years to trim the branches. Tree trimming might cost you around $200, depending on your specific tree and its location. Tree removal will cost more,5 averaging about $650.
Be prepared with an emergency fund
While owning a house can be a great investment, plan to put money into your home on a regular basis to maintain its value. Expect other home-related issues, such as a leaky sink, interior painting, and appliance maintenance or replacement. Costs vary for each home repair or replacement project. A good rule of thumb is to have an emergency fund set up with about three to six months' worth of living expenses.