Over the years, home costs can seem quite unexpected. We all know things wear out and break, yet we tend to put it to the back of our mind. I read an article today about how much money someone has spent on home repairs over a certain period of time. They mentioned they bought the house new and around the 10-year mark they were hit with tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected home costs. I thought to myself, yep, homes are expensive – that’s why you should understand what you’re getting into and expect to put money back into the house.
Out Of Touch
Where the article lost my interest is the author began talking about how they made sure they had a years’ worth of living expenses on hand before buying a home, plus whatever extra thousands they had saved for repairs. They wrapped it up by proclaiming that you should be prepared with an emergency fund, and how upset they were that they’re house cost them money. Good thing they had like $60k in savings, right?
Your Home is a Solid Investment
So, a couple of things I want to talk about – first of all, the only reason you should be upset that you had to spend money on your house is if you have to repair or replace something you outright neglected. You should be upset at yourself for not maintaining it properly. Houses WILL cost you money – but you are putting YOUR money into YOUR investment. Be proud of your home and buy it what it deserves! If you ignore problems or let them get out of hand, they will cost you more money in the long run.
We’re All Just Trying to Make a Living
Next, for me, when I read these cookie-cutter, out of touch articles that tell you to have $100k on hand incase you want to take a trip to Cabo, etc… It makes me ill. According to BankRate.com, the median bank account balance in the U.S. in 2019 was $5,300. The mean, or average, was much higher, at $41,600. This data tells us that half of the bank accounts in the U.S. in 2019 had $5,300 or less in them.
The average is misleading because it factors in bank accounts with very high balances. Remember, the average is the sum of ALL accounts divided by the number of accounts. So no, the average American does not have 1 year-worth of savings on hand. But I can tell you this, over 65% of Americans reported themselves as homeowners in the first quarter of 2022. Don’t let articles like that one make you feel like you shouldn’t pursue homeownership because you don’t think you have enough money.
Become House Literate – It’ll Save You Money
Last but not least of unexpected home costs, get a good understanding of the ins and outs of a home. Learn about the HVAC system, how it works, and what it costs to properly maintain it. If you have an old system, find out the replacement cost early on before you get hit with a bill you can’t afford. Learn about water heaters and even the electrical and gas systems in your house.
I’m not telling you to spend every evening studying engineering theory and building codes, just brush up on the basics. Did you know that some HVAC companies send sales reps to your hose to quote the job – and these sales reps work on commission? That’s dangerous to the homeowner that doesn’t have a basic understanding of their HVAC system and requirements. In 2015, I had my 1.5-ton heat pump replaced in my old home. I had quotes anywhere between $4500 and $12000. Guess which contractor sent a sales rep?
Your Doing Great, Keep It Up!
I’m sure having a year’s worth of living expenses saved up before purchasing a house is great. Having thousands of dollars for unexpected expenses is great was well. To me though, articles like that are not speaking to the general public. You put numbers like that out there and the message becomes disparaging to many. The thing is, no matter who you are and how fancy your house is, you need to take care of it. You’ll have to spend money sooner or later, but you should always be sure that you’re doing what you can to maintain it properly in order to reduce those expenses – turning unexpected expenses into expected ones.
We’re Here for You
I created this blog with the intent to educate everyday people, home-owner or not, about maintenance, repairs, and all-around home stuff. MyHomie is committed to helping you with relevant, helpful, and most important of all, realistic solutions for your everyday problems around the house. Are you making a fence out of used pallets because that’s all you can afford? Awesome, let’s talk about it!