The costs of maintaining a home are often pushed out of mind in the frenzy to find and win the right house. A homeowner should know the maintenance requirements and life expectancy of their home’s systems and appliances. A good rule of thumb is to set aside a slush fund to handle maintenance, repairs, and replacement. This will keep you from whipping out that credit card when something unexpected comes up.
I recommend that owners set aside about $250 a month for home maintenance. This will help take care of standard maintenance and build a reserve for major replacement costs. It’s not a matter of will something go wrong, but when.
Major systems in your home include plumbing, electrical, heat, and sewer. Your home inspector will have informed you of any potential issues you should monitor. Monitoring these systems is important for maintaining your home. Systems such electric and sewer will probably have minimal issues during your ownership. Heating and plumbing can be a bit more sensitive and require scheduled maintenance to keep them running smoothly.
- Water Heater $1200+ ~ Life expectancy 12 years
- Tankless Systems are $1200+ ~ Life expectancy 12+ years
- Furnace $3500+ for Gas High Efficiency ~ Replace after 20-25 Years
- Furnace $3500+ for Oil High Efficiency ~ Replace after 20-25 Years
- Service your gas or oil furnace yearly: $240
- Ductless Heat Pump/Mini Split $4000
- Newer product so life expectancy is unknown
- Wall heaters $1000 (10 per home at $100 each) ~ Replace after 12+ years
- Cast iron and concrete: 65-75 year life expectancy
- Line inspection/scope: $250 every 5-7 years or as needed
- Flush the line: $300 as needed
- If you have to flush the line yearly you probably have an issue that should be resolved. Have a sewer expert give you a recommendation.
Tip~ Having your furnace serviced yearly will extend the life and keep it running efficiently, saving you cash! Replace or repair water heater at the first sign of trouble. When they go, they GO, and you wind up with a flood and expensive water damage repairs.
They don’t make ’em like they used to. Grandma may still cook on the same stove that she got when she bought her house in 1962. Unfortunately, you can’t have those expectations with today’s appliances. You should expect to replace your appliances at least once during your ownership.
- Refrigerator – $1300 ~ Life expectancy 12 years
- Cooktop – $700 ~ Life expectancy 15 years
- Dishwasher – $$600 ~ Life expectancy 12 years
- Washing Machine – $700 ~ Life expectancy 12 years
- Dryer – $600 ~ Life expectancy 12 years
Protecting the exterior by keeping it clean, painted, and sealed is your first line of defense against the elements: sun, wind, and rain. Being proactive here goes a long way in maintaining your home.
- Roof – Replacement $15,000+ Life expectancy 25-30 years
- Gutter Cleaning – $250 yearly
- Paint – $5000-$10,000 every 7-10 years
- Caulking – $200 yearly
Tip~ Paint is not just for decoration. It protects your home. Keep your house well painted and caulked to prevent failure of siding materials. Failures will lead to costly water intrusion repairs.
Countertops and floors need occasional care as well. Seal the grout and tile to keep water and stains from being absorbed. Caulking corners in the kitchen and bath will keep water from damaging floors and walls. Carpet is lovely, but it’s also a sponge for dirt and germs. Having it cleaned regularly will add longevity and keep it looking fresh and new. Hardwoods need occasional maintenance to keep their beauty and luster.
- Caulking and Sealing The Bathroom and Kitchen – $150 yearly
- Carpets – Replacement $5000+ ~ Life expectancy 15 years
- Carpet Cleaning $250 ~ Yearly
- Replacement $20 per square yard
- Refinishing estimate about $4 per square foot
- Floor Screening/buffing estimate about $4 per square foot
Tip~ The cheap man pays twice. If you go with the lowest bid, you are usually not going to get quality service that will last. Consider the mid- to high-range bids and check reviews!
Buying a home is serious business. Maintaining your home helps to protect your investment and get the maximum payoff when it’s time to sell. More importantly, living in a home that is well maintained increases your enjoyment and gives you a sense of pride.