Plan Ahead For Those Big Fixes

Posted on November 6, 2014

Buying a home can be the most rewarding process of your life.  It can also be the most expensive purchase you make as well.  Making sure you have a home reserve fund in place after you’ve paid all of the upfront cost for the home or a really good plan to achieve one is essential. This fund should be significant as there are many aspects to the home and the most expensive fixes such as a roof, is something that cannot be put off as a mandatory function of the home and cost up to $20,000.  A home requires constant and on-going smaller maintenance fixes and also comes with larger costs that must be dealt with throughout the lifetime of the home.  Buying a new construction home or one that is newer gives a homeowner more time to plan and save for these expensive costs.  Older homes may be in great shape when you purchase it, but an inspector can tell you how old different aspects of the home may be, such as the hot water heater, and when you will need to plan to replace it.  Creating a detailed home study and documenting it with key dates noted is very important in understanding when certain aspects of the home will need updated and the cost of those updates.  Most high cost home fixes are very expensive and are crucial to the harmony of the home and usually are items that cannot be put off and are essential to the family.  We will talk about several of the larger inside and outside home fixes and how long they typically will sustain for and what the cost range will be when needing to do the fixes.

A roof is an aspect we touched on earlier for its essential need and high cost.  Homewyse estimates that it will cost $5.43-$7.05 per square foot for a simple, wood shingle roof replacement.  This is the simplest and cheapest roof option but shows how expensive a roof can be.  Even if you are just replacing a small 200 square foot portion of a roof, Homewyse estimates that after materials, labor, and equipment it will cost you $1200.  This is a very small job.  Some more expensive roofing materials would be asphalt shingles, expensive wood shakes, and slate, clay, tile, and steel.  This materials are more costly and harder to install, however they also have fewer maintenance issues and have a longer lifespan.  Many existing historical buildings still have their initial clay rooftop materials with little problems.  An optimal amount in reserve just for the roof would most likely be around $10,000.  The replacement could cost more or less, but knowing the square footage of your homes roof will help you use the above numbers to estimate how much you may need.  Roofs last a fairly long time so how well you take care of the roof and how much wind, rain, and debris is depositing on it are important factors.  A simple, wood shingle roof should last 15-30 years depending on the previous factors as well as how well your roof was installed.  Some of the more expensive materials will last 25-50 years, giving a home owner much more time to put off the next roof installation.  Make sure you know what your roof is made of and when it was installed so you can properly plan for this essential fix.  No one wants to have buckets under leaky spots while moisture is building in your home.  It is extremely unsightly and unhealthy for mold concerns.

Old homeIf you live in a hotter area of the world, or just enjoy the comfort of the cool in the summer, your home probably has a central AC unit.  These units can be viewed essential or a luxury depending on where you live and what your priorities are.  Regardless of this fact, a central AC unit typically will last you 15-20 years and cost you somewhere around $3,000-$5,000 to replace.  If you have a larger home, or need a better AC unit, it can cost up to somewhere around $10,000.  Hot water heaters are essential in any home, as it is vital to doing dishes, cleaning clothes, and taking showers, among other things.  Luckily for the home owner, the hot water heater lasts about the same as the AC unit (10-15 years), but is much less costly at about $1,000.  This is vital to replace as the hot water heater can break and leak a lot of water on all areas around and below it, causing damages and costs much, much larger that just replacing it before its needed.

There are many appliances and fixtures throughout the inside of the home that all have limited lifespans.  Because each individual appliance and fixture has a wide range of prices, depending on size, brand, and finish, we will just stipulate that all the appliances and fixtures we are about to discuss cost a significant amount and should be planned for.  Dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, and microwaves all last around 10 years.  Freezers, electric ranges, and refrigerators all last around 16 years.  All toilets in the home have a lifespan of around 25 years.  Wood, tile, and other hard surfaces have varying and longer lifespans than carpet, but carpet typically only lasts around 12 years.  This is a surface that needs to especially be clean if you have babies or young children crawling around often.  Three of the more costly fixes on the exterior of the home only last around 15 years depending on maintenance.  This is home decking, fences, and windows.  Wood has a limited lifespan and windows are essential for temperature control, moisture control, and helps with keeping utility costs low.  The interior paint can last around 20 years with good maintenance but exterior paint usually has a lifespan of only 10 years and can be very costly to repaint.  The siding of the home is another aspect that can be several different materials and thus cost varying amounts and need replacing at varying times.  Knowing what your homes siding material is, when it was installed, and the current condition of your siding are all very important factors to being in front of your situation.  Aluminum siding lasts approximately 20-50 years, steel and vinyl last approximately 50-100 years and wood siding has a huge range of 20-100 years.

Hopefully this blog was of some interest or increased your knowledge of the many issues a homeowner faces after the exciting purchase of their home.  The work and planning now begins.  If you take proper short-term and long-term care of your home it will most likely increase in equity over time.  Know your home and plan accordingly.