Take preventive steps to save costs later on

January 12th 2014
Take preventive steps to save costs later on

Now that the Christmas and new year celebrations are over, my guess is we can sit back and see what surprises may pop up.  I am not talking about your credit card statement, although I am sure many people would like to forget about that one.  What I am thinking about is your biggest investment: Your home. 

Hopefully, Murphy's Law does not rear its ugly head.  Let's consider some things you may have not anticipated, but which could go wrong.  These could add to your "unbudgeted account" - in other words, things not considered when you put your annual budget together.

Here are a few items I can think of, as well as a general estimate for repairs:

Roof failure: Leaks caused by frost and ice. Repair: $1,000.

Window glass failure - Window glass replacement: $300 per window.

Perimeter drainage, plugged by roots and debris: $500 to $12,000.

Floor and basement sumps: Catch basins plugged, causing flooding: $500 to $1,000, plus insurance deductible.

Cracked concrete (frost heave). Need to repair hazardous walk areas: $1,000 to $3,000.

Chimneys, being used for the first time in a long time. Chimney flue could be blocked by debris or birds/squirrels nesting there,

or there may be cracks in the chimney: $1,500 to $2,500, plusinsurance deductible.

Fireplaces, being used for the first time in a long time. The damper may not be working properly, or there may be problems with

chimney blockage: $1,500 to $2,500, plus insurance deductible.

Ventilation: bathroom and kitchen fans may need replacing as a result of age and excess noise: $300 to $600.

Gutters: Poor drainage angles causing water to lie in gutters and freeze causing breakage: $1,000 to $1,500, plus insurance deductible.

Tree trimming: Heavy snowfalls can cause limbs to break, damaging siding, roofing and/or windows etc.: $500 to $1,000, plus insurance deductible.

I am not really thinking so much about the money that may be required to repair any of the above, as much as what can be done to prevent the possibility of these things happening.  I refer to this as preventive maintenance.  An ounce of prevention in most cases is worth a pound of savings.

My advice is to have your home inspected by a qualified home inspector who can pinpoint areas where you may have a potential problem lurking.  The best thing about budgeting for your home is that this will allow you to have the funds on hand when needed in the future.  This is a lot less painful than trying to come up with the money or even arranging for financial requirements, which could be devastating.  Being a well-organized homeowner budgeting for unexpected repairs means you will be ready when and if funds are needed.

It's just that easy.