Homeowners Don’t Have Enough Savings for Repairs

30 Apr

When it comes to homeowner costs, most of us are aware we have to cover the mortgage, property taxes and homeowners insurance as well as regular maintenance costs. However, there is another expense lurking in your home and if you are not prepared it can be a financial disaster. 

We are talking about surprise emergency repairs which can pop up at any time. If you don’t have enough savings to cover these types of expenses, it can quickly become a major financial headache. According to a recent survey by HomeServe USA, a whopping 22 percent (1 in 5) of homeowners said they have no money at all set aside for surprise repairs.  

Home repairs pop up more often than you imagine and can be very expensive depending on what breaks down. The HomeServe USA survey found that twenty percent of homeowners had a HVAC system repair in the last 12 months and 13 percent had to repair leaking water pipes.  

Currently, the average age of a home in the U.S. is 40 years old which highlights that many homeowners will be facing the cost of a repairing or replacing some of the more expensive systems in their home. HVAC systems are designed to run for about 15-20 years. 

In addition to HVAC repairs, the survey found that homeowners have needed repairs to their blocked and/or overflowing toilet (14 percent), leaking water pipes (13 percent), water heater repair/replacement (11 percent) and a faulty electrical circuit, switch, or outlet (10 percent) over the last year. 

Surprise Repairs Can Be Expensive

Unexpected repairs can range from pretty affordable to you may need a home equity loan to cover the costs. As an example, the average cost of replacing an asphalt shingle roof runs $7,280 according to HomeAdvisor. 

On the cheaper side of things, the average cost to repair a faucet, fixture or leaking pipes averages $304. The cost to repair these types of issues can dramatically increase if you don’t fix them quickly. 

Some repairs can move into the break the bank category. Repairing your sewer line is a good example. While the average cost to repair a sewer line is $2,556 according to HomeAdvisor, if the problem is allowed to get worse you may end up having to replace the line entirely which requires excavating your lawn or even driveway. This can push this somewhat affordable repair up to $5,000 to $25,000. 

Be Prepared, Start Saving

Experts say that the best way to avoid an unaffordable surprise repair is to have an emergency fund in place that is sufficient to cover roughly three to six months of your household expenses. 

This will ensure that you have enough money on hand to cover the cost of a surprise household expense or even an unexpected car repair. Some experts go even further, advising homeowners to put 1 percent of their home’s purchase price in a savings account each year to cover the cost of unexpected repairs as well as routine maintenance. 

This type of savings may not be possible for some homeowners which is where a home equity line of credit may come in handy. This type of loan is a revolving credit line that is secured by the equity you have in your home. 

HELOCs have an adjustable interest rate have follow federal fund rates. Only use a HELOC for emergency repairs, your balance can quickly spiral out of control if you choose to cover day to day expenses or live beyond your means. 

Tags: , , , , , , ,