April 13th, 2019 10:45 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
Close to 20% of
homeowners have no money set aside for an emergency home repair, according to a
survey from HomeServe USA, a provider of home repair plans.
The cost of fixing
pipes and faucets averages around $304, according to HomeAdvisor. If you’re
installing asphalt shingle roofing, the average cost is $7,280.
Here’s a home
improvement project nobody looks forward to: replacing a sewer line.
For homeowners, the mortgage,
property taxes and insurance only account for a portion of the cost of owning
It’s those surprise
emergency repairs that can destroy your budget.
Indeed, 18% of
homeowners polled by HomeServe USA said that they had no money set aside for
surprise repairs. The company, a provider of home repair plans, conducted an
online poll of 1,429 homeowners from Feb. 27 to March 1.
More than half of
participants said they had a home repair emergency in the last 12 months.
“Part of that can be
attributed to the fact that the median age of a home is about 40 years, so
that’s telling us that homes are aging,” said Myles Meehan, vice president of
corporate communication at HomeServe USA.
“People should be
concerned about maintenance and being prepared for things to break down,” he
Roof to foundation
Those repairs can
run the gamut — and each one can take a chunk out of your wallet.
the national average cost of installing or replacing asphalt shingle roofing is
$7,280, according to HomeAdvisor, a website that helps homeowners find
replacing faucets, fixtures and pipes averages out to $304, HomeAdvisor found.
tackle those problems right away can lead to higher expenses.
For instance, repairing
a sewer line — the plumbing that carries waste water away from your home — runs
an average cost of $2,556, according to HomeAdvisor.
Depending on the
severity of the problem, you might have to hire contractors to excavate your
lawn or driveway to replace the line. That cost can run anywhere from $3,000 to
$25,000, HomeAdvisor found.
“I think you have to
understand that things break, problems happen and, if you’ve owned a home for
six months or longer, you know that,” said David Mendels, a certified financial
planner and director of planning at Creative Financial Concepts in New York.
Saving for a disaster
The best way to
foot the bill for that surprise expense is to turn to your emergency fund, a
pot of cash that’s sufficient to cover three to six months of costs.
“If you need a
new boiler, is that really different from your car breaking down?” asked
Mendels. “They’re all emergencies.”
recommend setting aside a fund just for home-related emergencies: Sock away
savings equal to 1% of the
home’s purchase price each year to cover ongoing maintenance, said Deborah
Kearns, an analyst with Bankrate.com.
The next best
option in an emergency might be to turn to a home equity line of credit, a revolving credit line that’s
secured by your home.
Be aware that
so-called HELOCs usually have adjustable interest rates that move along with
the federal funds rate.
The current average rate on a HELOC is 5.48%, according to
and reserve the line of credit for emergencies. “I’m a fan of the HELOC if you
have the discipline to not use it,” said Mendels.
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