At a Glance

If you’ve ever tried fixing a leaky faucet with a YouTube tutorial open on one tab and a prayer on another, then this article is for you. We get it – adulting is hard, and so is convincing yourself that duct tape is a legitimate solution to every household woe.

So, you’ve finally graduated from assembling IKEA furniture without leftover parts, and now you’re staring at your home thinking, “Maintenance? That’s a thing?” Fear not, we’re here to help you navigate the uncharted waters of budgeting for those inevitable home repairs without resorting to selling a kidney or convincing your cat to take on a part-time job. Read on to learn more.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Home costs depend on age, condition, climate

The cost of home repairs can be a significant financial burden for homeowners. The first step to budgeting realistically for home repairs is to understand that the cost can vary depending on several factors such as:

  1. Age of the home: Older homes often require more repairs due to wear and tear. These repairs may include fixing structural issues, plumbing, electrical systems, and more. Newer homes generally have lower repair costs.
  2. Condition of the home: A well-maintained home is less likely to have major repair needs. Regular maintenance and inspections can help identify and address issues before they become costly problems.
  3. Climate: The climate in which your home is located can also impact repair costs. Homes in areas prone to extreme weather conditions may require more frequent repairs and maintenance.

To get a better estimate of the potential repair costs specific to your situation, there are several online resources and calculators you can use, or consult with a professional contractor or home inspector.


Is what the average homeowner spends each year on home repair and maintenance.

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How much budget to set aside for home repairs?

Budgeting for home repairs requires planning and discipline. While it’s challenging to predict the exact repair costs, it’s a good practice to set aside a portion of your monthly budget for these expenses.

  1. Create an emergency fund: Financial experts often recommend having an emergency fund that covers at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This fund can be a valuable resource for unexpected home repairs.
  2. Use the 1% rule: A common rule of thumb is to budget 1% of your home’s value annually for repairs and maintenance. For example, if your home is valued at $300,000, you would set aside $3,000 per year (or $250 per month) for home repairs.
  3. Consider the square foot rule: Another approach is to use the square foot rule, which is where you budget about $1 for every square foot of livable space each year. For example, a 2,500-square-foot home would require about $2,500 annually for maintenance.
  4. Prioritize essential repairs: Identify the most critical repairs and prioritize them. Focus on addressing these high-priority issues first and allocate a portion of your budget accordingly.

Keep in mind that when you’re budgeting for repairs, you also need to budget for labor costs, materials, and other factors that can contribute to a higher price. It may be smart to budget a bit higher than the actual repair cost itself to account for this.

Other options to save for home repair costs

In addition to setting aside a fixed monthly budget, there are alternative ways to save for home repair costs:

  1. Personal loan: Personal loan funds can be used for just about anything, making them a good option for home repairs. Those with good credit can get a lower interest rate, and the fixed interest and monthly payments make them easier to budget for.

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  2. Home warranty: Consider purchasing a home warranty, which can cover some of the repair costs. However, be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the warranty. These often seem like a good deal on the surface, but often have a variety of restrictions and qualifications for something to be covered.
  3. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): A HELOC allows you to borrow against your home’s equity, providing a flexible source of funds for repairs. Functioning like a credit card, you withdraw funds up to your line of credit for repairs. Interest rates on HELOCs tend to be lower than other types of loans, which makes them a good option. The downside is that if you default on your payments, you could lose your home.
  4. Home Equity Loan (HEL): An HEL is a type of loan where you borrow against your home’s equity, receive the cash in a lump sum, and then repay the loan through fixed monthly payments over time. While interest rates can be low, you also risk losing your home if you default.
    Learn more: How Does a Home Equity Loan Work?
  5. Savings account: Create a separate savings account specifically for home repairs. This dedicated account can help you keep track of your repair budget and prevent you from dipping into other funds. If you’re using the 1% Rule, set up an automatic transfer of $250 per month to a separate account.

Tips to budget for home repairs

To budget realistically for home repairs, consider the following tips:

1. Keep a budget for ongoing home maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for preventing costly repairs. Allocate a portion of your budget for routine tasks such as HVAC system servicing, roof inspections, and plumbing checks. This will not only keep these systems operating for longer but can also help catch any issues early (before they become super costly).

2. Set up an automatic transfer

Automate your savings by setting up automatic transfers to your home repair fund. This ensures that you consistently contribute to your repair budget without having to think about it or the need for manual transactions.

3. Use online tools to manage your budget

Various online tools and budgeting apps can help you manage your home repair budget effectively. They allow you to track expenses, set savings goals, and get a clear overview of your financial situation. Using these tools can help ensure you have enough budget for both your regular expenses and any home repairs you’ll need.


The average person’s spending on home repairs can vary significantly depending on their location, the age of their home, and their approach to maintenance. It can also depend on what you’re repairing. You could pay hundreds of dollars, or the repairs could be thousands.

The budget for the repair and upkeep of a house should be based on factors such as the home’s age, condition, and location. A general guideline is to allocate 1% of your home’s value annually for maintenance and repairs. However, it’s advisable to consult with a financial advisor or home inspector to determine a more accurate budget for your specific situation.

Scheduling home repairs during off-peak seasons can often save you money. For example, consider having your heating system serviced in the spring or summer when HVAC professionals have less demand. Planning and addressing issues before they become emergencies can also help you avoid higher repair costs.

The time required to repair your house on a budget varies depending on the scope of the repairs and your DIY skills. Small repairs can be completed in a day, while larger projects may take weeks or even months. It’s essential to plan your repairs carefully, considering your budget, available time, and the need for professional help.