Buying a home is a massive responsibility, and over time, you are likely to encounter maintenance issues or damage that needs repairing.
There’s nothing worse than needing to pay thousands of dollars when you are short of cash and struggling to make ends meet. Taking the time to put aside some money and save for unexpected home repairs can be a lifesaver in these situations.
Regardless of whether you are purchasing an apartment or home for the first time or are just concerned about your current financial situation, you’ll want to find a solution for unexpected work needed for your home.
In this article, we’re going to reveal 20 Ways to Save for Unexpected Home Repairs, so you can avoid ending up in a difficult situation when a home repair payment appears in the future.
20 Ways to Save for Unexpected Home Repairs
1. Homeowner’s Insurance
Homeowner’s insurance can help to pay off the majority of the costs of your unexpected home repairs. You’ll still have to pay a premium with most policies, but it will be substantially less than paying the total amount.
However, after certain events, you may not even have to pay a single dollar, as your insurance will fully cover it.
Consider using home insurance for bigger items such as significant roof damage, major water damage, etc. If you claim too often, your insurance company could increase your premiums.
2. Home Repair Emergency Fund
Putting away a small amount of cash every week or month for unexpected home repairs will soon add up and create a healthy home repair emergency fund. You’ll want to aim for a minimum of $2,000 in your emergency repair fund.
This home repair emergency fund can be used to pay for any unexpected home repairs and stop you from going into debt or taking out a loan.
In general, it’s wise to set up an emergency fund for household emergencies, such as losing your job. This should cover up to six months of expenses for all of your daily necessities.
Why not try and avoid expensive home repairs in the first place by investing in regular maintenance on your home? By fixing smaller issues before they become larger problems, you could save thousands of dollars in the long run.
You can probably take on some of the maintenance yourself, but for gutters, roofing, and other specialized areas, bring in professional help.
Putting aside a small amount of money from each paycheck can spread out this expense throughout the year and keep your home in top condition.
4. Credit Card
While credit cards have a bad reputation for being misused, they can come in handy for unexpected home repairs. Try designating a credit card and use it only for unexpected home repairs.
That said, your credit card may not cover your full home repair cost list, depending on your credit limit. Only use this option if it will help resolve the problem entirely, instead of forcing you to borrow extra money elsewhere.
5. Delay Other Purchases
If you are concerned about your home’s emergency fund, consider delaying other major purchases to save for unexpected home repairs.
Opting to delay your new car purchase or other major purchases could help you put aside some much-needed cash for an emergency.
Decide for yourself if your next vacation is worth the stress you would feel if you had an emergency or whether you’d prefer to save that money instead.
6. Reduce Energy Expenses
One area of concern for homeowners is their air conditioning system. By changing your filter every few months, you can reduce the need for repairs.
Review the recommendations for your home system as to how often you should replace your filter. Also, consider adding a thermostat, which can minimize the wear and tear on an HVAC system.
By reducing your energy consumption, you can save yourself money in the short term, which you can add to your home repair emergency fund.
7. Purchase Additional Coverage on your Insurance Plan
If you live in a particularly susceptible state to natural disasters, consider upgrading your homeowner’s insurance.
The basic plan often does not cover natural disasters, which can be devastating for homeowners.
As mentioned above, disaster relief only makes your home safe and secure to live in. Upgrading your insurance may assist with providing more financial assistance in these types of emergencies.
8. Keep a Maintenance Log
One of the best ways to keep track of your home maintenance is to create a maintenance log. This can help you budget for future repairs and book maintenance checks as needed.
Every month or two, review the areas of concern and see if you need to budget any additional maintenance funds that month.
This will also come in handy if unexpected home repairs occur, as you can share with your insurance company when work was last completed on your home.
9. Repair Plans
Many maintenance companies offer repair plans that allow you to spread the cost over the upcoming months or weeks.
As long as you know you can pay this out of your monthly salary; you can feel confident using this payment method. If you have an emergency fund, it can help reduce the impact of a large payment.
However, additional service fees may be added to a payment plan to compensate for the company’s delay in payment.
10. Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
This is an excellent source of information for anyone struggling to understand the assistance available to them in their local area.
HUD can offer you contact information for local resources in your community and help make the process less stressful. Educating yourself in advance of an emergency can help prepare you for this event.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development can also discuss your loan options and what programs you may be eligible for.
11. U.S. Department of Agriculture
If you live in a rural area and are on a low income, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a good service for you to try.
They offer grants to assist with repairs and home improvements and can even help modernize your home.
Of course, you’ll need to provide proof of low income, and this option will only be available to a low percentage of the population.
12. Quick Response to Emergencies
You’ll save additional cash for your home repairs by acting and responding quickly to any emergencies.
The longer you leave a leak or a damaged roof, the worse it will get. By the time you call for assistance, you may have added thousands of dollars to your repairs.
Don’t be afraid of calling for professional advice when you notice issues with your home. Acting on problems that occur quickly can make or break the extent of your home damage.
13. Improve your DIY Skills
Learning some basic DIY skills can help save you from expensive home repairs. Younger generations are opting to fix issues themselves more often nowadays, reducing their need for hiring a professional.
However, you should avoid attempting any project you aren’t confident with and consult a professional instead.
14. Study your Insurance Plans
If you already have home insurance coverage, make sure you study the policy carefully. It’s much better to educate yourself in advance, so you know about potential costs you may have in the future.
Take the time to comb over the fine print, and understand where you would need to pay for home repairs. This can help you budget accordingly, especially if you notice a problem area in your home.
15. Community Development Block Grants
Community Development Block Grants are an example of a local community development program, which your local or state government may offer.
Agencies and financial services also provide this type of assistance, offering an emergency loan to homeowners struggling to pay their home repair cost list.
As with many similar programs, there is usually an income check and specifications needed to apply for this program.
16. Understanding Natural Disaster Relief
Homeowner’s insurance often doesn’t cover natural disasters, so in this case, you’ll need to find another solution for unexpected home repairs. If you live in an area that experiences these issues, educate yourself about what is and isn’t covered on your policy.
The Red Cross and FEMA assist homeowners in these situations and work to make your home safe to live in again.
However, it’s important to note these funds won’t cover restoring your home to its previous condition and will make it secure for you to return to.
17. Plan for the future
To ensure your emergency fund is fully funded, plan for the future maintenance your home may need. If you’ve recently moved into a home, assess your home’s current state and what may need replacing soon.
This can help you put aside money each month for repairs and work to build your home repair emergency fund.
18. Shop Around
If you are looking to cut back on your home expenses to fund your emergency plan, shop around on your regular bills. By switching providers and finding the best deal, you can minimize your expenses and add your emergency fund savings.
Some of these services could include:
- Cell Phone
- Cable/Satellite Services
- Streaming Subscription Services
- Food Delivery Services
You may also find your new service provider may offer a better service than your previous one and may include appealing introductory offers.
The final 2 suggestions should only be considered only if absolutely necessary. Before adding additional debt to your home, you should assess the risks and impact to your financial wellbeing.
A HELOC, or home equity line of credit, works similarly to a credit card. The advantage of this is that your home equity supports it.
If you have lived in your current home for an extended period, this can be an excellent option. You’ll have access to a higher amount of credit than you would with the other options listed here.
Of course, if you have just moved into your home or apartment, this may not be the best route for you, as your credit will be limited.
Before considering this option, be aware that applying for a HELOC will impact your credit score.
20. Cash-Out Refinance
Often considered the last resort for homeowners, cash-out refinancing can allow you to refinance your mortgage. It can give you the extra amount you need to pay for your unexpected home repairs.
This is a quick way to get urgently needed money, but it should be avoided where possible.
It will usually extend your mortgage’s length and amount, impacting your financial planning for years to come.
What Are the Most Common Home Repairs?
There are various home repairs that are common nuisances for homeowners:
- Roof repairs
- Water heater repairs
- Foundation repairs
- HVAC system repairs
- Waterline repairs
- Siding repairs
While these are the most common repairs, other regular occurrences include repairs to pipes, sewer systems, and electrical systems.
More minor repairs include clogged drains and toilets and smaller electrical faults.
How Much Will Home Repairs Cost?
The average cost for emergency expenses is around $2,000 but will vary depending on the size of your home and the job. A home repair cost list can differ dramatically between households, so prepare for the bill to be much higher than expected.
If you have homeowner’s insurance, you may still need to pay a premium of about that amount, so you’ll still need to have a good amount of money put aside.
Natural disasters can cause damage that stretches into the tens of thousands and may even reach closer to the value of your home.
It’s recommended that you add about 1% of your home’s value to your home repair emergency fund each year. This helps to cover deterioration and maintenance as your home ages.
What to do When You Can’t Afford Home Repairs
There are various options available to individuals who can’t afford home repairs. If your home repairs are essential, you may have no choice but to use one of these options.
However, it’s important to remember that these may impact your credit score and future financial plans. Think long and hard before deciding to take out a huge loan or refinance your property.
Some of these options are available to everyone, and others are means-tested:
- Credit Card
- Habitat for Humanity and non-profit organizations
- Local organizations
- Natural disaster relief
- Government home repair loans
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- HELOC (Use this as a last resort)
Some of these options are only available to individuals on a low income or following a natural disaster.
If you opt to take out a loan or pay on a credit card, remember you will be paying this back over the upcoming months and years. You’ll want to start making a dent in your unexpected home repairs repayment as soon as possible.
Think carefully before opting to take out a loan or using a credit card. This can have a significant impact on your future financial situation.
Can I Get A Government Grant to Repair My House?
The most common government assistance is in the form of a loan. The FHA 203(k) and Limited 203(k) loans can assist with covering the costs of your unexpected home repairs.
While they are used to buying a property or refinancing your home, they can also add up to $35,000 for repairs. However, this is just for emergencies and essential repairs and not intended for upgrades to your home.
Alternatively, there is the HUD Title 1 Property Improvement Loan.
Depending on your current location and income, you may be eligible for other assistance. Contact your local housing department for more information about local grants.
Native Americans may be eligible for the housing improvement grant program. For more details, contact the Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Customer Service Center.
For veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs Home Loans Service can assist with loans and housing assistance. Finally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture can assist individuals in rural areas with a low income.
All of the options mentioned are worth investigating if any assistance is available for your unexpected home repairs.
Why You Should Prepare for Unexpected Home Repairs
By taking the time to educate yourself about a potential home repair cost list, you can avoid the shock of a future home repair bill.
An emergency fund is the best option for anyone looking to save for unexpected home repairs. While it’s always tempting to spend extra income on luxuries such as vacations, it’s important to prepare yourself for the future.
Whether you are a first-time homeowner or just concerned about the state of your home in the coming years, try to be realistic about the amount of money you may need to put aside for repairs.
Homeowner’s insurance is something that is a necessity for any homeowner. Educate yourself on your policy and inquire about additional extras you could purchase to protect your home further.
Remember, there are always options available in an emergency, whether you opt to use a loan, credit card, or apply for a grant. By educating yourself today, you can avoid bankrupting yourself in the future with your unexpected home repairs.
I’m interesting to know that foundation problems are considered to be fairly common among homeowners. I’d like to know more about the various home repair services that I will need to be familiar with because I just moved into my new home a few weeks ago. Finally having my own house would mean that I will need to ensure that I will be able to properly take care of it.
Hi Alice! Thanks for the comment. Often times most of the foundational issues arise based on severe weather (extreme heat, heavy persistent rain and even flooding.). If caught early enough, these repairs are manageable.
As I mentioned in the article, the costliest and most common issues are HVAC, waterline and water heater repairs. Also, if you haven’t yet done so, check with your home owners insurance to see what you are covered for and the deductible for each issue.