Unexpected home repairs are a frightening situation that can be costly and quickly deplete a homeowner’s savings. That’s why it’s important to develop a plan and set aside a yearly home maintenance budget. While some maintenance issues are unavoidable, planning and budgeting can ease the financial burden of home maintenance and help homeowners be more prepared if the unspeakable happens. As we near 2023, follow these tips to learn how to effectively budget for home maintenance. 

How Much Should You Budget for Home Maintenance? 

While each home has different maintenance needs, homeowners should plan to budget 1-4% of their home’s value for yearly maintenance. One way to make sure you are budgeting enough is to create a specific home maintenance fund or account. Having that money separate from your discretionary income will make it harder to spend it on other items and you’ll be able to track exactly how much you have set aside. 

How to Create a Home Maintenance Budget 

Before you start creating your home maintenance budget, be sure to assess the age and condition of “big-ticket” items. The list below includes some of the more expensive home maintenance items along with their average lifespan and maintenance costs. 

Average Lifespan: 15-30 years 
Average Maintenance Cost: $5,400-$11,200 

Average Lifespan: 20-30 years 
Average Maintenance Cost: $2150-$5900 

Central Air Conditioner 
Average Lifespan: 12-17 years 
Average Maintenance Cost: $3,800-$7,500 

Water Heater  
Average Lifespan: 8-12 years 
Average Maintenance Cost: $800-$1,600 

Average Lifespan: 20 years 
Average Maintenance Cost: $200-$1800 per window 

That may seem like a lot, but WIN can help you take the guesswork out of home maintenance with a Home Maintenance Inspection. A Home Maintenance Inspection will assess the condition of more than items in your home as well as provide an easy-to-read report within 24 hours outlining areas that need attention. You can then use this report to budget and create a corresponding maintenance plan, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

How Can I Avoid Expensive Home Repairs? 

It’s almost impossible to avoid expensive repairs completely. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of expensive or emergency repairs.  

Perhaps the biggest step you can take is performing routine maintenance around your home. Regularly changing air filters, cleaning out your dryer vents and air ducts, testing your plumbing and inspecting your roof are just some of the ways you can keep a well-maintained and healthy home. 

Another step you can take is being attentive to minor repairs. It’s easy to brush minor repairs to the side and say you’ll take care of them later but putting off minor repairs can oftentimes lead to more serious and expensive issues down the road. Spending some money now and mitigating minor repairs can save you money later and ultimately give you peace of mind. 

A WIN Home Maintenance Inspection (HMI) can assist you in accomplishing both steps. An HMI will carefully inspect over 300 components in your home including plumbing, HVAC, foundation, doors, windows, and electrical panels. Within 24 hours, your local WIN Home Inspector will provide you with a detailed report outlining any maintenance or repairs needed. The inspector will also work with you to prioritize which repairs should be addressed first. 

What is the Average Cost of Home Maintenance?

The average cost of home maintenance in the U.S. is roughly $3,000 a year, per household. However, that number jumps up to $81,000 when you extrapolate it over the course of the average length of homeownership, which is why it’s important to budget at least 1% of your home’s total value each year. 

Additionally, investing in services like a Home Maintenance Inspection can greatly reduce your maintenance costs and help you save money in the long run. 

What to Consider When Planning for Annual Home Maintenance 

There are several things you should consider when planning for annual home maintenance including, the age of your home, the age of your appliances, the date of your last inspection and the last time maintenance was performed. These are all important factors that contribute greatly to the overall condition of your home. As we mentioned previously, you ideally want to set aside 1-4% of your home’s total value each year, however there are some repairs that may cost more than that 4% and it’s important to make sure you plan and prepare for those occurrences. 

For example, let’s say your roof is nearing 30 years old, which is the end of a roof’s average lifespan. That means you will probably need to have your roof replaced shortly, which can cost upwards of $10,000. So, in this scenario, you are likely going to need more than your annual budget of 1-4%, but if you are aware of the age of your roof and know a repair is coming, you can be proactive and start saving years in advance, helping you be more prepared when the time comes.  

Being in tune and cognizant of the age and condition of items in your home can greatly reduce stress and make maintenance planning easier. 

Home Maintenance Cost Calculator 

As we mentioned previously, one way to help calculate your home maintenance costs is to use the 1-4% rule. However, there is another method that has proven to be effective as well. This method involves budgeting $1 for every square foot of your home.  

According to the 2021 U.S. Census, the average size of an American home is 2,261 square feet. So, if you are budgeting $1 per square foot, then the average American should set aside $2,261 per year, or $189 per month for home maintenance. 

While both budgeting methods are good principles to adopt, they are not end all be all. If you can afford it, we recommend saving as much as possible.  

Budgeting and planning for home maintenance can be a daunting task, but hopefully these tools can help make the process a little easier and less stressful. The most important thing when it comes to home maintenance is to always be ready. Stay ahead of repairs by scheduling a Home Maintenance Inspection with WIN. With our comprehensive inspection report, you can develop a maintenance plan while saving money and keeping your family safe. To learn more about home maintenance or to schedule an HMI, reach out to your local WIN Home Inspector, today!