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Home ownership budget question

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am wondering how much money people allow in their budget for general house maintenance and repairs?   I am planning to buy a house in the very near future.  I am not even talking about home improvements, just a general maintenance fund.  I am planning to budget $200 a month.  There will also be a separate emergency fund of about 15000 but I would only dive into that for a real emergency like no heat in the middle of winter or something.  But out of that $200 a month, I would need to schedule the heating system maintenance and the septic pumping, replacement items like hot water heater, dishwasher, plumbing fixtures, etc.  Not buying a fixer-upper so things should go smoothly.  I just want to be sure I don't get into hot water.  How much do you allow for house maintenance and repairs and what regular things do you pay out for?

post #2 of 12
I think the $200 sounds good. We don't have a budget, but have had a few repairs that really stretched our paychecks. Things like furnace going out, running out of propane and water lines freezing.
post #3 of 12
I agree, 200 sounds good. Check to dates/condition on all the items before you buy.
Even though the house isnt a fixer, things like furnaces, water heaters, etc have a set life span. So be sure to budget for what e house will need.
I bought a 10 yr old house and needed a $1300 water heater within 2yrs.

The yard has really ate up $ for me. That will need about 100 a month, even if you do most of the work.
post #4 of 12

200 sounds good. That is 2400 a year. You may or may not spend that every year, so this can grow and become a roof replacement fund, for example.


I read somewhere that 2% of the cost of the house is a good amount to save for maintenance.  

(I happened to round my mortgage &escrow payment up to 1000/mth which left 150 / mth for maintenance which, incidentally, is a bit more then 2% and that has worked well so far (almost 4 years).  This extra bit also covers annual changes in escrow payments, tax increases...


I have not paid out for much and I usually go an extra year rather then doing annual maintenance w/ the nod from my contractor.

I have paid for professionals or contractor and some DIY:

~Chimney sweep,

~Vent cleaning (contractor checked it)

~Furnace maintenance (I do myself, its really no more then changing the filter).

~gravel for driveway (not a yearly thing but its about time to get a truck load, can do the labour myself);

~bought lawn mower and other landscaping maintenance things (wheel barrow, shovels)

~snow blower service

~added insulation (one time cost)

~bought washer and dryer

~saving for roof replacement, water heater, furnace ... they were all in good condition when I bought (4yrs ago, House is 100 years old). May be needed in 5 - 10 yrs.

~future fence replacement

~electrical work -  (hardware/new lighting comes from renovation budget); labour is paid out of the maintenance account)


~replaced all the kitchen appliances but that came from the kitchen renovation budget; updated bathroom as well, again from renovation budget. Actually this is the only time I have had a plumber in the house.



landscaping comes from my discretionary money

Edited by SunRise - 3/28/13 at 7:03am
post #5 of 12

I have also heard about the 2% of house value calculation.  That is roughly what we do. 

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input.  I sure hope I don't spend 100 a month on the yard.  That would be crazy.  I am looking for a small lot and close to the street so I can shovel my own paths and driveway and if I put in garden beds in most of the yard, I will only have to weed and buy some garden amendments/plants.  I always grew all of the my own vegetables and most flowers from seed for years so I figure that is a fairly minimal expense since I still have my grow lights from the house I shared with my ex.  I will need to pump my septic every three years so I will budget that in with furnace maintenance.  Probably also need an occasional termite inspection, although I am pretty good at spotting those myself.  The rest of the money would be to replace/repair things like washing machine, dishwasher, hot water heater, furnace.   I just don't want to forget stuff and then be shocked at some point.  I will also have to create a punch list of things I want to improve with an eye towards efficiency at first; i.e. hot water heater blanket, insulation, caulking and weatherstripping.  I think I am also going to put motion detectors on most of the lights because in a bigger house than the 450 sq feet we have now, my kids will never remember to turn off all of the lights!!  but I know my electric will probably go up from the $65 or so I pay now per month.  I am kind of terrified that somehow I am going to forget some critical aspect of home ownership and not have enough!!!  Have I forgotten anything??  One thing is that I will definitely be seeking out a house with gas heat rather than oil.  The price of oil heating has gotten crazy but the community I am moving to has mostly gas heat so it shouldn't be a problem. 


Love to know how homeowners are spending their maintenance money if there are any more suggestions!

Edited by EmsMom - 3/28/13 at 6:59pm
post #7 of 12

two I haven't seen mentioned:

carpet shampooing (required by warranty on new carpet)

drain cleaning (we get tree roots that build up every 2 yrs)

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Carpet cleaning.  Never considered that.  I hate carpets anyway and am hoping for all wood floors.  But, still, a very good point.  I am terrified of home ownership, but at the same time, I think it will give more financial stability.  And we really do need a bigger house.  My kids are getting bigger and need to spread out a bit and work on their own projects.  As do I!  I hope this works out. 

post #9 of 12
We don't have a budget. If need be we can get interest free financing on the Lowe's card and do repairs ourselves.
post #10 of 12
We don't have a budget. If need be we can get interest free financing on the Lowe's card and do repairs ourselves.
post #11 of 12

we are new home owners.  We took a HUD approved class and a formula of 1% of the purchase price was explained as a basis for a repair fund.  The idea is not that you would use the whole 1% that year but to let it acrue and you would have it when repairs were needed.  I am budgeting the 1% for now ontop of our emergency fund.  So in 8 years or so when we need a new hot water heater etc we will have the funds.

post #12 of 12

We own a condo so its isn't totally the same since the condo association takes care of outside maintenance and lawn care.  I usually just set aside whatever I can each month, around $50 a month. 

We owned the condo for over 5 years before anything major needed repaired.  Then all at once over about 2 months time we had to buy a new washer and dryer, computer and water heater.  Everything just broke at the same time.  We have an emergency fund that we use if we need to for major expenses if we don't have enough in our home repair fund.

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