Be Ready to Fund Home Repairs Before the Storm Hits
Home is where the heart is, but the relentless forces of nature really don’t care.
Gusts of wind send debris hurtling at your windows, while tree branches crash onto your roof and rains flood your basement with murky water that eats at the foundation. When the storm has passed and the damage is done, it’s up to you to pay the bill for repairs, though you’re just the victim of circumstance and have done nothing wrong.
The experience is frustrating, no doubt, as any homeowner who’s gone through it would attest. However, preparing financially in advance certainly takes the sting out. You’ll be ready to have the windows replaced, the roof mended and the foundation repaired. Here’s what you need to do.
Find Out What’s Covered
Your homeowners insurance probably doesn’t cover damage due to floods, earthquakes or landslides, which require a separate policy, according to Braden Insurance Agency. The same goes for power outages and sewage backup. After going through the details of your coverage, consider buying an additional policy based on the specific risks where you live.
Look Into a Home Warranty
This doesn’t cover major structural damage, but would come in handy when repairing heating, electrical and plumbing systems or replacing major appliances. A warranty usually costs between $350 and $500 a year, a significant sum, so make sure your systems and appliances aren’t already covered by other warranties.
Set Up an Emergency Fund
That way, you won’t be put through the financial wringer by unexpected home repairs that aren’t covered by your insurance. One financial expert, who shelled out over $3,000 on maintenance over the course of three years, recommends putting a portion of your monthly income into a high-yield savings account to pay those bills when they come.
Consider Using Your Credit Card
… And do so very carefully. It makes sense in certain circumstances, such as when the overall cost of the damage isn’t high and you need to pay for repairs quickly. However, look for a card with 0 percent APR over a certain period of time, and settle the balance before that period ends. You may even end up with some rewards or benefits.
Explore Equity Options
For more expensive repairs, tapping into your home’s wealth might be the best option, though there are multiple ways of doing this. A cash-out refinance is optimal if the current interest rate is lower than the one on your mortgage. If not, home equity loans might have an advantage in terms of overall cost. Choose wisely, because there are significant risks involved.
Apply for Government Assistance
There’s help available at the federal, state and local level in the form of loans and grants for home repairs and improvement. You’ll find more information by contacting the local offices of the Department for Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Focus on Prevention
Though you can’t stop storms from tearing through your neck of the woods, you can cut trees or trim branches so that they don’t crash into your roof. As far as the interior is concerned, maintain your HVAC system by regularly changing the filter, and be sure to use one with a high MERV rating, which will keep your HVAC running longer without issue. This step is easier if you’ve signed up for an air-filter subscription plan, which allows you to choose the model you need based on size and rating, as well as how many you need and how often you receive them.
Learn About Contractors
This is crucial if you’re keen on paying less when the time comes to pony up for repairs. There are a number of signs that the one you’ve approached is more interested in lining their pockets than providing you with the required services, says Earl’s Plumbing. If they pull off any scare tactics, meaning they exaggerate the damage or the level of danger, you may want to move on to another candidate.
With a solid a financial plan for repairs, you’ll have less to worry about when the storm clouds gather in the distance, and you never know when that’s going to happen. Get to work on it now to save yourself money and frustration in the future.
Guest Article By: Paul Denikin
Image via Pixabay.