How to Make a Budget for Standard Home Maintenance

Are you overpaying for car, home, or renters insurance? Compare to find out in 45 seconds.
Quotes from up to 45 companies · No long forms · No phone calls
House (Photo: @JessicaKaplanPhotography via Twenty20)
Where there is a home, there is home maintenance. Even if your home is brand new and you have every warranty under the sun, odds are, you’re still going to have to cover some maintenance cost or another every month.
Therefore, if you have a home, you need to know how to make a budget for standard home repairs and maintenance. This budget shouldn’t be confused with an emergency fund, which should be reserved for big issues, such as a termite infestation. Rather, your home maintenance costs budget should be reserved for expected expenses.
Here’s how to create a budget for standard home maintenance.

Determine your costs

If you’re a homeowner, you’ll have a lot of home-related costs — so it can be hard to remember all of them. There are five main categories of standard home maintenance:
  • Electrical system maintenance
  • Heating and air upkeep
  • Plumbing system maintenance
  • Structural integrity assurance
  • Water damage prevention
Some tasks should occur on an annual basis, such as termite inspections and exterior paint touch ups, while others, like checking for water leaks in your basement, should be performed every month. A few important standard home maintenance jobs that are frequently neglected include:
  • Annual draining of the water heater
  • Annual gutter cleaning
  • Every six months HVAC system inspections
  • Regular plumbing clog flushes
If you’re worried about remembering the details of your maintenance needs, Homelight offers a standard home maintenance schedule that easily integrates into your Google calendar so homeowners can keep up with tasks without worrying about what they are forgetting.

Use the 10 percent rule

Although home maintenance is inevitable, it can still be hard to place a dollar amount on it. Enter the 10 percent rule.
If you’re following the 10 percent rule, that means you’re putting aside 10 percent of the monthly cost of your mortgage, property taxes, and insurance every month for a maintenance budget.
So, if your mortgage, tax, and insurance payments equal $1000 per month, you should put at least $100 a month into a savings account for home upkeep. It’s important to note, this is the bare minimum a homeowner should put aside for standard home maintenance.
Another popular way of building a maintenance budget is to save 1% of your home’s value on a monthly basis. When in doubt, opt for the method that creates the biggest savings pool, as it is better to have too much saved than too little.

Account for risk factors

In some instances, a homeowner should budget more for standard home maintenance. An older home, for instance, is likely to need more maintenance than a newer one. Other risk factors that may require greater savings include:
  • Home condition
  • Square footage
  • Environmental risks
  • Location
Even if a house is new, well-maintained, and in a great location, a homeowner should not deduct from their home maintenance budget. To protect your home’s value, you need to invest in its upkeep.