Are your finances ready for a big home repair bill, or would you end up in debt if your air conditioner suddenly broke down or the roof sprung a leak? More than half of Canadians would be unable to pay the bills if they were hit with a $200 emergency, according to a 2017 report from Global News, but a typical home repair can cost thousands of dollars. And if you don’t take care of home repairs in time, problems will only grow more expensive.
Planning for home repair costs is an important part of being a homeowner. Home maintenance keeps your house running smoothly, protects its value, and prevents minor issues from growing into big, expensive problems. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t think about this expense when they’re calculating how much a home will cost.
The Cost of Major Home Repairs
Minor home repairs are financially manageable even if you haven’t planned ahead. Paying for a pest service, drywall patching, or another minor repair might tighten the budget for a few weeks, but it won’t launch your family into financial ruin.
Major repairs like roof replacements, on the other hand, could affect your financial security for many years to come if you’re not prepared. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a major repair or renovation is over $10,000. If you don’t have that amount in your rainy day fund, you’ll have no choice but to go into debt to fix your home. Debt can be a great financial tool when used responsibly, but high interest rates on credit cards and personal loans put many families into a cycle of debt they simply cannot escape.
How to Plan and Pay for Home Repairs
Home repair costs should be calculated into the cost of owning a home. If you save extra money each month after making the mortgage payment, you’ll be ready when something inevitably breaks or falls apart. The amount you need to save depends on the age and condition of your home. One common rule of thumb recommends saving 10 percent of your home’s monthly mortgage payment every month, but you may need to save more aggressively if your home’s major systems are nearing the end of their usable life.
If your home needs a major repair before you’ve built an emergency fund, debt can help close the gap. But what type of debt is best for home repairs? SoFi advises avoiding credit cards for big repair expenses, opting for a low-interest personal loan or home equity loan instead.
Shopping Around for Home Repair Contractors
Your choice of contractor has a big impact on the price you pay for home repairs, but not in the way you think. Bids will vary somewhat from contractor to contractor, but since the specifications of the job stay the same, quotes shouldn’t vary dramatically. When one contractor comes in significantly lower than the others, it’s not a sign of a good deal — it’s a sign that the contractor plans to cut corners, saving themselves money at your expense.
That means the biggest difference in contractor prices comes from workmanship. A low-priced bid saves money now but costs you later when the work starts falling apart and you have to make repairs sooner than expected. Poor quality work from a cheap contractor also affects the aesthetics of your home. If you want high-quality work that looks great and maintains its value, it’s worth spending more for a highly skilled and detail-oriented contractor. Remember: When it comes to your home, you get what you pay for.
Your home is your biggest investment, so shouldn’t you protect it? By creating a rainy day fund for home repairs and choosing contractors who will do the job right, you ensure your home remains beautiful and livable for years to come.
Over half of Canadians are $200 or less away from not being able to pay bills