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How to Budget for 5 Common Home Repairs

How to budget for home repairs
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Did you know? 
Maintenance on your home is generally less expensive than repairing or replacing something when it breaks.

1. Replacing the Water Heater

Most water heaters last for only six to 15 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 an average of $1,294 for a new water heater.1

2. Repairing or Replacing the HVAC Unit

Anyone who lives in hotter climates 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–$8,500, 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:

  • Every 3-7 years for wood siding.
  • Every 5 years for aluminum siding or stucco.
  • Every 10 to 15 years for painted brick.

The bigger your home, the bigger the paint job and cost, with the average being around $3,141 for a 1,500-square-foot home.3

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 $9,211 on average for a new roof.4 The cost varies depending on factors such as roof size, pitch, and materials used.

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, averaging about $750.5

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.

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Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. HomeAdvisor.com, “How Much Does It Cost to Install A Water Heater?" updated July 29, 2022; Accessed March 24, 2024. Back
  2. Alora Bopray, “When to Replace Your HVAC System," Today's Homeowner, updated July 26, 2023. Accessed March 24, 2024. Back
  3. HomeAdvisor.com, “How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Home Exterior?" updated May 23, 2022. Accessed March 24, 2024. Back
  4. HomeAdvisor.com, “How Much Does a New Roof Cost to Install?" updated January 19, 2023. Accessed March 24, 2024. Back
  5. HomeAdvisor.com, “How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Tree?" updated August 4, 2023. Accessed March 24, 2024. Back