The Best Way to Tackle Your House Maintenance Budget

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The Best Way to Tackle Your House Maintenance Budget

When it comes to saving money for maintenance, there’s no specific account that requires a set amount of money to be paid in every month. Sadly, you’re going to have to come up with a budgeting plan on your own and if you’ve just moved into a new house, figuring out where to start can feel needlessly complicated. 

Where Should You Start?

There are two mainstream starting points that people generally use. Both of them more or less ignore outside factors and focus on the house itself. So here are the pros and cons of using both methods, for starters. 

The 1% rule is straightforward. You’re supposed to save 1% of what you paid for your home every year. 

Pros: This method will probably help you out in terms of costs depending on your neighborhood. You could factor in labour and material costs in your area, basically. 

Cons: You’ll be dependent on the market, which might not be reliable. If you’ve bought your home at a reduced price you’ll end up saving less but your maintenance costs won’t be affected by this. If you’ve bought it when prices were high, you’re saving up potentially more money than necessary- money which could have gone somewhere else. 

Man looking over house plans.
Photo by mirtmirt – Shutterstock.com

Saving per square foot is the second option. You’re supposed to put away $1 per square foot every year. 

Pros: You’re far more likely to save a good amount based on the surface you’re managing. Obviously, the bigger your house, the more you’ll spend if worse comes to worst. 

Cons: You won’t be taking contractor prices, or building materials and labor for that matter. These things can vary depending on where you live. 

So, in a sense, these two options are two different sides of the same coin, covering different factors. In order to get closer to the sum you’ll need, you have to take it one step further from here on out. But before we can do that, here are some external factors that you need to take into account. These are things that can affect your house no matter its size and price but have everything to do with the location. 

House under heavy snow, with firefighters.
Photo by COLOMBO NICOLA – Shutterstock.com

External Factors

Climate is one major factor. If you’re going to experience heavy rainfall and snowstorms, maintenance could cost more than in more temperate regions. The milder the weather, the less you have to account for. 

Pest infestations can also be costly. Termites alone could cost quite a lot to deal with, for example. 

Take geography into account too. If you live at the bottom of a hill you might experience landslides or, after rains, water could collect and drain right around your property. 

How old is your house? This is a more subjective category. Old houses that have had amazing owners could be in pristine conditions. New houses with uncaring owners could require a lot of work. Of course, the reverse for both these options could be true, but it’s still something you should keep in mind. 

Woman calculating home insurance.
Photo by Doucefleur – Shutterstock.com

Here’s how to figure out your savings based on everything. Calculate what you’ll need based on both the 1% and the square foot methods. Let’s say you bought a 2,000 square foot house for $300,000, giving you $2,000 or $3,000 in savings. Then, calculate the average. In this case, $2,500. 

Now you need to take factors into account, climate, age, pests, geography. Add 10% for each of them that you’re expecting to experience or that might cause problems down the line. In this example we’ll pick three, thus reaching 30%. 

$2,500 x 1.3 = $3,250

That’s how much you should save yearly. We hoped this article helped. How much have you been saving for your home and what method did you use? If you’ve had any incidents, did your method cover them? Leave a comment below, we’d love to see how people all over the US tackle this!

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