When It Rains, It Pours: Saving for Home Repairs Is the Umbrella

Every once in a while, i get the opportunity to share a guest contributer to this collective. Here, I bring you Julian Lane with thefixitchamp.com discussing how to handle it when something goes awry in your home. Owning is awesome. Until something breaks….amiright? Inevitably, we need to deal with the inconveniences of regular maintenance, system break-downs, and need for a contractor. Though it comes with the territory, I’m here to help share names and contacts of people that can help.


When It Rains, It Pours: Saving for Home Repairs Is the Umbrella

If your home is struck with water damage or other disasters, fixing it as soon as possible can prevent further issues. It’s not cheap, and doing the work yourself is going to cost you time and money. But there are ways to plan ahead for the unexpected. Here are some tips on picking the right contractor for major repairs and saving for a proverbial (and literal) rainy day.


Choosing a Contractor


Contractors are a dime a dozen, and there will be no shortage of fly-by-night companies to show up at your door after a major storm or flood. Don’t be in a hurry to sign a contract without doing some research first. Nationwide suggests first getting recommendations from people you trust. Once you have a list of potential contractors in hand, schedule a few interviews and don’t be shy about asking for pictures of recent work, a quote, and a timeline. Make sure to check their reviews and pay attention for red flags, such as insisting on an unlimited materials budget and promising deadlines that don’t seem realistic.


When Repairs Are in Progress


Depending on the severity of the damage, repairs can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. You may have to stay at a hotel or make other living arrangements during the process if you won’t have electricity or if your home is exposed to the elements. Check your homeowners insurance or talk to your agent to find out if reimbursement is available for displacement. When your contractor is going to do drywall work, make sure they plan to cover your furniture and appliances since an excess of dust is a certainty and can be harmful to your health. When you return home, replace the air filter in your HVAC to further reduce dust and particles from the air. If you need a custom-size filter, pre-order these ahead of time.


How to Pay for Repairs


According to financial website SoFi.com, most homeowners spend just under $3,000 each year on home improvements and repairs. Large projects, such as remodeling a bathroom, can cost upward of $11,000 or more, so it pays to have some money set aside for emergencies. The easiest way to do this is to create a special account for the purpose and to have a small percentage of cash automatically transferred out of your paycheck each week.


Other financial experts advocate a 50/30/20 budget. Nerdwallet explains that this means to earmark 50 percent of your take-home pay to necessities, such as your mortgage and insurance, 30 percent to wants, such as dining out and entertainment, and 20 percent for saving. Keep in mind also that as your income increases, your expenses do not have to follow suit. When you get a raise, have the extra money transferred into savings.


Other ways to pay for any damage, especially if you are unprepared, include opening a home equity line of credit and applying for assistance to the government. There are many programs available for low-income households and the elderly that can help prevent a financial disaster.


When the unexpected happens, be prepared. By having a cushion of cash available, you lessen your chances of having to scramble to pay for repairs you can’t afford. Of course, you should always be cautious, and no matter how dire the situation, find a contractor you can trust. After all, you don’t want to be stuck paying for inexperience or have your money held up in a never-ending battle against changing deadlines and unexplained charges.