This post is from guest contributor: Natalie Jones
Ask any homeowner and they will tell you that emergency home repairs are never fun. Many of the most common urgent home issues require the attention of a professional contractor, which can be costly. Prepare yourself for surprise expenses by using these tips to keep your house and your budget protected.
Prepare Your Personal Budget for Routine Repairs
Before you even buy a home, you should begin making room in your budget for common household repairs. Do some research online to see what routine home repairs could end up costing you, and be sure to include all project costs in your budget planning. You’re going to have to factor in any fees you need to pay to professional contractors as well as for materials, but you should also consider expenses that can be easy to miss.
For example, to keep your belongings from being damaged by dust, tools, or debris during repairs, you may need to think about putting some items in storage. Currently, the typical cost of a self-storage unit rental in Seattle is $92.97, so you may need to add this to your overall project budget. Keeping breakables and irreplaceable furnishings in storage can prevent added stress and costs for you but can also allow contractors to work at a faster pace with a cleared-out space.
You can get a good feel for the costs of common upgrades with a little homework, but you should also consider setting up an urgent home maintenance fund, with a goal of saving at least one percent of the value of your home for unexpected professional home repairs.
Resolve Home Emergencies Without Extreme Costs
Most home emergencies are going to require the skill and expertise of a contractor, so you have to be ready to pay higher costs than DIY repairs. Broken pipes, faulty wiring, and roof leaks (roof repairs generally run between $300 and $1,100) are all repairs that should be handled by licensed, bonded professionals, but there may be some minor emergencies that can be taken care of by a handyman. Understanding the differences between a contractor and handyman could possibly save you hundreds or thousands on smaller home repairs, such as a broken gate or a clogged toilet.
If you do need to hire a licensed plumber, electrician (typically charge $50 – $100 an hour), or another contractor, you can also keep costs low by knowing how to negotiate the best deal. If your repair isn’t urgent, spend some time getting quotes from a few different contractors and be sure to check out research experience and reviews before settling on a price. In those situations where you need repairs done fast, and when your emergency fund will not cover costs, you also need to figure out some smart funding options. If you have equity built up in your home, you may be able to leverage it to get a small loan, but for new homeowners, credit cards with low-interest rates could be your best bet at getting cash in a hurry.
Take Care of Crucial Home Maintenance Tasks
Responsible homeowners should always be financially prepared to cover emergency professional repairs. If you want to cut down on those repairs and expenses in the first place, however, you should be taking care of routine maintenance year-round. One step many homeowners overlook is disconnecting and preparing their outdoor irrigation systems in the winter. Leaving hoses connected and outdoor spigots exposed can result in costly leaks and breaks in your plumbing, so take care to winterize your pipes before freezing temperatures arrive.
Taking care of regular maintenance can also help you avoid issues with your homeowner’s insurance policy because most policies will not cover repairs or damages that are due to homeowner neglect. To tackle most of the maintenance tasks on your list and keep your insurance valid, keep a set of basic tools around to help you out. Tape, screwdrivers, and hammers can be useful when it comes to performing maintenance and minor household repairs.
When you need to call the professionals, it helps to know you have options to pay for your emergency home repairs. So plan ahead for those potential issues now and keep your home in good shape to save yourself stress and costs later.
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