by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 25, 2021
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
This move is essential for all home buyers -- especially for those who aren't well equipped to tackle home repairs.
When my husband and I bought our newly built home a little over a decade ago, we assumed that in exchange for paying more money for our house and having a higher mortgage, we'd benefit from not having to make many repairs early on. And for the most part, we were right. During those first few years in our home, we didn't have to spend much on repairs.
But that changed over time. These days, it's not uncommon for us to spend hundreds of dollars in a given month to fix something that's broken -- and that's for a house that's still relatively new.
If you're looking to buy a home, be prepared to tackle your share of repairs. And if you're not the type who can comfortably handle fixing things, it's important to set money aside to pay someone else to tackle them for you.
Even if you're the handiest person out there, it's important to go into homeownership with a healthy emergency fund. Ideally, you should have enough money in savings to pay for three to six months of essential bills.
But if you're not handy at all, then a robust emergency fund is especially crucial. That's because outsourcing every repair that comes your way could get very expensive, and you'll need money on hand to pay for those issues when they inevitably arise.
Even if you get lucky and your home doesn't require a lot of repairs through the years, you'll still need to maintain your property. And if you're not handy enough to do that, you'll need money to pay others to do it for you.
Now I happen to be the opposite of handy, but my husband, thankfully, knows his way around a toolbox. And through the years, we've saved thousands by not having to pay for certain maintenance items or repairs.
Recently, a pipe burst in our basement. We called a plumber to get an estimate on how much a fix would cost and were told it would be $200 just for someone to come out to our home and assess the situation.
My husband instead dropped what he was doing, went to the hardware store, and was able to repair our piping after having spent $100 on supplies. Had we gone with a professional, we would've spent twice as much money just to have someone walk through the door to look at the problem -- plus the cost of the repair work itself.
This is just one example, but the point is that if you're not comfortable doing home maintenance or repairs, it's a good idea to beef up your emergency fund before you buy a place of your own. The good news is that the longer you own a home, the more experience dealing with maintenance and repairs you're apt to get. So in time, you may not have to outsource every task. But until you reach that point, having extra money in a savings account is a smart thing to do.
Chances are, interest rates won't stay put at multi-decade lows for much longer. That's why taking action today is crucial, whether you're wanting to refinance and cut your mortgage payment or you're ready to pull the trigger on a new home purchase.
The Ascent's in-house mortgages expert recommends this company to find a low rate - and in fact he used them himself to refi (twice!). Click here to learn more and see your rate. While it doesn't influence our opinions of products, we do receive compensation from partners whose offers appear here. We're on your side, always. See The Ascent's full advertiser disclosure here.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2021 The Ascent. All rights reserved.