Hidden Costs of Owning a Home

While owning a home is costly, it is still considered a smart financial decision. According to NerdWallet, paying down a mortgage over time can be viewed as a kind of “forced savings” as you build equity with each monthly payment. 

However, while homeownership can offer some great financial benefits, it will be much more enjoyable if you plan ahead for potential home repairs! 

Create a Home Repair “Rainy Day” Fund 

When you purchase a home, it’s important to recognize that major expenses may be headed your way down the road. While a new roof or major home renovation might not be necessary upon moving into your home, being prepared for such expenses is critical. Putting away money now can help you avoid going into debt to cover unexpected costs at a later date!

The National Association of Home Builders estimates the life span for common household appliances to be 20-30 years for a roof, 10 years for carpet and 20 years for a deck. If you plan on staying in your home for a while, chances are you will have to replace at least one of these items. 

Most often, homeowners will face the cost of repairs to the roof, HVAC system and plumbing. 

Common Home Repairs

Roof Repairs

A leaky roof can lead to structural damage inside the home, as well as health problems for the homeowner and loss of personal property. Most often, a roof leak occurs when shingles become loose, cracked or blown off due to a high wind or a bad storm. In addition, the nails holding the shingles down have a tendency to lift over time, allowing water to get underneath. Most often, a roof will last between 20-30 years; however, you must keep an eye on your roof and check for cracked or missing shingles, lifted nails, etc. 

HVAC System

Your HVAC system controls the heating, cooling and circulation of air within your home. Unfortunately, this is not something the average homeowner can maintain, repair or replace on their own. At some point, you will need to replace the units, as the original units will wear out. To extend the life of your furnace and air conditioning units as long as possible, make sure to replace the filters when necessary. Furthermore, many homeowners choose to have their units inspected on a bi-annual or annual basis to ensure everything is running efficiently. 


A common home repair that nearly all homeowners will face is a plumbing issue! While a clogged drain is relatively inexpensive to fix, larger problems can be quite costly. Many older homes contain galvanized iron pipes that can become clogged overtime, causing a drastic reduction in water pressure. In order to remedy the issue, the pipes must be replaced.

In addition to the roof, HVAC system and plumbing, it’s important to know the typical lifespan of the appliances in your home. Consumer Reports estimates the life span for common household appliances to be as follows:

  • Refrigerator: 13 years
  • Washing Machine: 10 years
  • Dryer: 13 years
  • Freezer: 11 years
  • Dishwasher: 9 years
  • Central Air Conditioner: 15 years

Where Should You Save the Money for Home Repairs? 

Experts recommend saving for home repairs separately from your “emergency fund,” which is typically reserved for job loss or other big, unexpected expenses. 

In addition to simply opening a separate savings account, you may consider establishing a home equity line of credit or purchasing a home repair warranty. While neither option is the perfect solution, creating a plan for unexpected home repairs is always a good idea.