Buying a home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make but it doesn’t end there. Once you become a homeowner, you’ll need to continue spending money on home maintenance and repairs.
According to the Motley Fool, you should expect to spend anywhere from 1% – 4% of your home’s value each year on maintenance. This means if your home is valued at $250,000, you can expect to spend $2,500 to $10,000 extra annually.
This lines right up with HomeAdvisor’s 2018 study, which indicated the average household spent just over $9,000 that year on home improvement projects, maintenance, and home emergency spending in a single year. While it’s important to keep your home updated and in good condition, that’s a lot of money to fork over annually. Check out these 7 clever ways to save on home repairs and maintenance.
1. Learn Basic Plumbing
If you own a home, expect your plumbing to have issues from time to time. Plumbing work can be expensive, but there are some basic services you can probably do on your own to save money.
Plumbing consists of two systems:
- Water supply system
- Drain-water vent system (DWV)
Instead of calling someone to fix a leaky toilet or a clogged drainpipe, you may be able to remedy the situation yourself. Check out these 18 basic plumbing skills everyone should know and also watch some YouTube videos from trusted professionals.
I’m not recommending you try to fix a major plumbing issue in your home. But if you know how to do basic tasks, you may be able to save money by fixing minor problems and gaining practice.
2. Change Your Air and Heating Filters
My husband is back in school studying HVAC which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. He’s learning to maintain and repair heating and air conditioning systems, and it’s helping us save money around the house too.
My husband has learned that a simple thing all homeowners can do is change their air filters and wipe down their systems every once and a while. It sounds super simple, but most people don’t do this. You should actually change the filter for your AC unit every 30 days. If you don’t the unit could start overworking itself to cool your home. The same goes for your heating system.
As a result, your systems could experience more wear and tear which means more unnecessary and costly repairs taking place sooner. There is longevity in your heating and air systems if you take care of them with low-cost maintenance.
3. Mow the Lawn and Design Your Own Landscape
Getting your lawn mowed by someone else can easily cost $30+ per visit. If you get your grass cut each week, you could be paying around $120 per month or more. If you’re able to, invest in a lawnmower and cut your own grass. It’s good exercise and that money can be better used elsewhere in your budget.
Don’t get overwhelmed and think you need to buy a ton of fancy lawn equipment either. My husband and I used to share lawnmower with my mom since she lived close by. I also bought a used weed trimmer from the Facebook marketplace. Over time, we kept adding more equipment like a leaf blower, rakes, and other tools to cut down weeds.
Realize that the look and design of your landscape can add value to your home and be a major selling point. Yet, landscape design can get expensive. Even if you don’t have experience in this area, you can still educate yourself and do your own basic landscape design.
Stores like Lowe’s offer tips and advice to help you and you can always watch how-to videos online. One thing I like to do is drive around my neighborhood and look at other people’s landscapes so I can get ideas and visualize certain concepts.
4. Pay With Cash
Cash is king, especially if you want to save on home repairs and maintenance. If you get some major work done on your home, you may be able to finance it or get on a payment plan. However, these could come with fees and interest that hike up the costs.
If you have cash to work with, you may be able to negotiate a lower price. If you already know you can expect to spend 1% – 4% of your home’s value on maintenance and repairs each month, plan to set some money aside each month.
My goal has been to add $100 – $200 per month to my emergency fund for home repairs each month. Ideally, I’d like to do more, but this is a good start and will give me cash to use whenever we need work done.
5. Use an App
Instead of running to a big-name commercial business for a job, you can save on home repair and maintenance by hiring a handyman.
How do you find people who have the expertise to fix things in or around your home? There are plenty of apps and websites to connect you with trusted professionals. You can check out Home Advisor or Thumbtack. Another app you may want to consider using is TaskRabbit.
You can specify the job you need done and browse through contractors who qualify. Connect with people are experienced and charge a rate you can afford to pay. You can always check out their reviews as well from past jobs and send additional questions to ensure it would be a great fit.
By hiring a local handyman (or handywoman), you can potentially save hundreds or thousands on your next home project.
6. Get a Warranty
A home warranty could help you save on home repair and maintenance costs, but you must do your research and read the fine print. When my husband and I first bought our home, the previous owners paid for a home warranty for 14 months.
This gave us enough time to settle into the house without having to cover any major repairs right away. With the warranty, we only had to pay $75 for someone to come out and assess any problems. We were able to get our furnace fixed when it stopped working as well as some plumbing work.
However, we switched warranties this year and realized the repair coverage is not so black and white. Some warranty companies don’t want to pay to replace expensive systems so they’ll include clauses in their contract that prevent you from filing a claim.
Earlier this year, we had another plumbing issue and called the new warranty company but they said the problem wasn’t included in the coverage. We ended up just hiring the same contractor the warranty company sent out but we had to pay $600 of our own money to fix the plumbing leak.
On average, a home warranty will cost you anywhere from $400 – $700 per year. Plus, you’ll have to pay anywhere from $65 to $85 for a contractor to come out and assess your problem. Even then, them being able to fix the issue or replace a system in your home is not guaranteed since the home warranty plan may have limitations. Be sure to ask lots of questions and read the fine print before signing up for a home warranty.
7. Shop Around For Materials
There are probably a lot of things you can DIY when it comes to home projects. Even if you’re hiring someone, you can always shop around for materials to find the best deal and save money.
A year ago I asked my dad to install laminate flooring in our home to replace the carpet. I wanted to pay him a fair price for his time even though I’m sure he did it for way less than what a contractor would have charged me.
Still, I had to pay for materials as well. My husband and I shopped around and compared floor options and pricing. We stuck to our budget and found some flooring for around $0.69 per square foot. This saved us a ton of money compared to the other flooring that was over $1 per square foot. Overall, we spent under $1,000 to get new flooring installed in our home.
Another project we took on was installing a backsplash in the kitchen. We found a beautiful backsplash at a discount home store for a steal and were able to complete this project for under $200.
Summary: Save on Home Repairs and Maintenance
You don’t have to spend a fortune on home repairs and maintenance each year. The trick is to pace yourself with projects and keep up with maintenance so you don’t get overwhelmed or allow too many projects to build up.
Start implementing these tips to save money money without skimping on the TLC your home truly needs.
What are some of your favorite ways to save on home repairs and maintenance?