Guest Post by Julian Lane
I like to share blog posts when I can, including those that don’t necessarily have anything to do with my books or the Civil War. These blogs are strictly for your information only. I hope you enjoy this article and find it useful. Thank you, Julian, for your contribution.
What to Know When Preparing for Costly Home Repairs
Being a homeowner means you will have a place of your own, a place to feel secure, and a place to create memories. However, it also means you will face costs associated with replacements and repairs. You’ll deal with burst water pipes in the winter, a broken air conditioner in the summer, a roof that needs replacing every couple of decades, and many other issues. But just because you can’t always predict these things doesn’t mean you can’t prepare.
Establishing an Emergency Fund
Some synonymous terms with “homeowner” are “Mr(s). Fix-It” and “Mr(s). Pay-For-It.” Hopefully, you don’t have a money pit, but you should expect to fork out some money to upkeep your home, save for those inevitable big expenses that will need replacement, and put aside some savings for those unexpected repairs or replacements. Emergency repairs can be some of the most costly expenses homeowners face because they are not planned for. It’s essential to start an emergency fund as soon as possible and to plan to save 1 to 3 percent of the value of your home. When that tree falls on your roof or that pipe bursts in your wall and floods your house, you’ll be thankful you planned ahead.
Other Ways to Fund Emergency Repairs
Emergency repairs can be costly, but they should not remain unresolved until you can afford to fix them, as they could lead to further damage and unsafe conditions (mold, structural damages, fires). If you haven’t saved for an emergency fund and don’t have the immediate extra income to cover the costs, you should look to alternative sources such as government funding, insurance, taking out a home equity line of credit, applying for a personal loan, or seeking assistance from family and friends. The longer you do nothing about a major issue, the more complicated the problem will become, and you will lose more value that you’ve invested in your property.
All good things must come to an end, and some replacements should be planned for. For example, an asphalt shingle roof should last 20 to 25 years, while metal and tile roofs will last longer but will still require repairs and eventual replacement. While you can ensure that the replacement costs do not happen sooner than planned by getting a warranty on the roof, hiring tree cutters, and routinely inspecting the condition of your roof, a normal wear-and-tear replacement will need to occur. Some other replacements you should plan for are major appliances and HVAC systems.
Finding the Right Contractor
After you determine that some work needs to be done to your home and you know where you will obtain the financing, you should then begin your search for the right contractor. Not all work is created equal, and not all contractors are as equally equipped to perform the necessary replacements and repairs to your home. Choosing the wrong contractor can lead to incomplete projects, higher expenses, more damages, the need to replace/repair sooner, and added stress.
Here are some tips for selecting a contractor:
- Get references from people you trust
- Read reviews
- Interview contractors
- Check for licenses
- Have a contract
- Require proof of permits
- Pay for the project in installments
- Verify insurance coverage
- Keep the lines of communication open
Depending on the size of the repair or replacement, a contractor can be in your life for a while — and they most certainly will impact your home.
There is seemingly no end to the possible issues you can face as a homeowner. However, if you’re prepared, you’ll be less likely to be overwhelmed when those days come. Start by setting up and growing an emergency fund, and stay up-to-date on alternative sources for funding emergency repairs. Also, do your research and get to know what common replacements you can expect. Finally, take seriously the process of choosing your contractor, because they can either fix your situation or make it worse.