Congratulations on your new home! While you and your spouse are thrilled to have a place of your own, being prepared for the responsibility of home ownership means learning about the joys of looking after a house. Many first-time home-buyers aren't prepared for the annual home maintenance expense that goes along with being a property owner. Regular repairs and maintenance of your new home will go a long way to preventing or avoiding large and costly renovation projects down the road.
Average Annual Home Maintenance Costs
A good rule of thumb for new home-buyers trying to figure out the annual expense of maintaining a home is to allocate 1-1/2 to 4 percent of the purchase price for regular annual maintenance, depending on the age and size of the house. In an interview with MSN Money, Ilyce Glink, author of "100 Questions Every Homebuyer Should Ask," advises that homeowners should prepare to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 annually on home repairs. To keep costs low, do as much of your own maintenance as you can.
Reduce Your Exterior Home Maintenance Expense
Reduce costs and help prevent expensive renovations by checking and repairing your home on your own. Inspect your roof annually for loose shingles and keep eaves and gutters clear of debris. Caulk cracks as they appear. Check brick, masonry and siding each spring and fall and repair any cracks or crumbling areas. Prune trees and shrubs, keeping them from encroaching on your home's foundation. If you own a condo, keep in mind that though condo owners pay maintenance fees for regular upkeep of common areas, most renovations of the interiors are the responsibility of the homeowner.
Reduce Your Interior Home Maintenance Expense
Do-it-yourself interior home maintenance reduces your annual expense. Inspect heating and cooling systems twice a year and replace paper furnace filters monthly during the winter. Attend to plumbing leaks and clogs immediately to avoid extensive and expensive repairs. Each fall, identify exterior cracks that require sealing, including areas around windows, doors, bathtubs, sinks and toilets. Complete caulking and weatherstripping as required. Remember to replace the batteries in smoke detectors each spring and fall.
Anticipate Expensive Renovations
Calculating the annual costs of maintaining a home includes setting aside funds for more costly future renovations. On purchasing a home, ask your home inspector what big jobs need to be done in the next few years. Knowing the roof needs replacing or plumbing pipes need updating in the near future allows couples to plan and save for these expenses instead of using credit cards or a home equity line of credit to cover the costs.
A former financial adviser with more than a decade of experience in personal finance and small business banking, Sarita Harbour is a professional writer specializing in personal finance, small business, technology, and content marketing techniques. Her writing appears online at sites such as Yahoo! Homes and Bob Vila. Harbour holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and computer science from the University of Guelph and the Personal Financial Planning designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers.