As a new property owner, you should plan for the cost of repairs throughout the lifecycle of your home. The boiler might go out, the roof might need fixing, or you could have sewage backup into your basement. While home repairs are inevitable, the timing can be unpredictable; therefore, setting up a separate account for home repairs could make a huge difference to finance the upkeep of your home.

According to Zillow, experts recommend setting aside between 1% and 4% of the price of your home annually for needed maintenance and repairs. However, you may want to plan for and prioritize major repairs or upgrades. Just be aware that you can’t predict everything and certain repairs may become urgent.

Anticipating repairs for items in your house is one way to avoid going into debt and falling behind on your mortgage payments. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors has a Standard Estimated Life Expectancy Chart for the most common home appliances and systems, and you may be able to ask your home inspector for predictions specific to your home. Even if you may not know exactly when these items will need repairs, an outline can put costs into perspective and help you to plan ahead.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Perform regular maintenance. Failure to perform maintenance is not covered by home insurance and minor maintenance can help avoid unexpected emergency repairs.
  • Keep an eye on your utility bills to ensure your meters are working properly and are paid in full. An unexpected large water bill could indicate a leak in your pipes. Nonpayment of water bills could also place your property on the city’s annual tax lien sale.
  • Get help right away if your finances change and you’re having trouble paying your mortgage because of the cost of repairs. There are free housing counseling services available. Call the Center’s Homeowner Hub at 646-786-0888 or submit a form here.