You never know when something will go wrong with your home. You can hope that any repair needs will be minor, affordable fixes, or you can plan ahead and set aside funds for those times when hoping for the best doesn’t work. Of course, not everyone can afford to save thousands of dollars, but there are alternatives – fall-back plans for when you’ve got to find the cash to replace a major appliance, call in a plumbing contractor, or replace a roof. Here, HelloProject offers some tips on how to manage the cost of emergency home repairs.
There are different philosophies for saving up a rainy-day fund. One is to put away whatever you can, whenever you can, or try to set aside three to six months of expenses. Some homeowners save based on the average cost of the most common home repairs (such as $1,000 to $3,000 for major roof repairs), or you can set aside 5 percent of the value of your home. These are just a few of many approaches – the key is to plan ahead and be as financially prepared as possible. If, like many homeowners, you’re unable to save adequately, consider the following financing options:
The first thing to do when something goes wrong is to carefully review your homeowners insurance policy. Insurance won’t cover everything, but it can help save money on many different home repairs. Read the fine print, and consult with the insurance company to make sure you’re getting the most for your insurance dollar.
Be discriminating when selecting a contractor. Do plenty of research, read reviews and check Better Business Bureau ratings. Always get at least three separate quotes before settling on a contractor so you know what kind of repair bill to expect. When looking for contractors, use a site like HelloProject to ensure you’re matched up with trusted home improvement professionals.
Depending on your circumstances (for instance, if you’re a financially disadvantaged single parent; a senior on a fixed income; or a veteran), you could be eligible for a government-backed home repair grant. This can be an ideal option because, unlike other modes of financing, government assistance grants don’t have to be repaid.
Home equity loan
If you have equity in your home, you can borrow money from a bank or lending institution using your equity as collateral. Borrowing a percentage of your home equity can help cover a multitude of home repair needs; however, be aware that the amount you can borrow is usually capped at 85 percent of your total equity. Budget carefully before pursuing this option because, since you’re basically using your property as collateral, falling behind on the payments could put your homeownership at risk.
Refinance your home
Home repairs can also be financed through a cash out refinance, which provides a ready source of funding through the equity in your home. Typically, with a cash out refinance, you’ll replace your current mortgage with a new one, preferably with more favorable terms. The big question will be whether you have enough equity in your home and how it will affect your monthly payments. When searching for the best cash out refinance rates, look to lenders like PennyMac, which offers a variety of products to suit your unique needs.
Unlike other loans, personal loans generally don’t require collateral, so it’s not necessary to put your home or other valuable possessions at risk. The risk is to your credit rating, which can be damaged if you’re unable to keep up with the loan repayment schedule. (Of course, getting a personal loan usually requires a good credit rating to begin with.)
Making major home repairs requires careful planning and an understanding of all your financing options. If you lack savings, selecting the best option for you will save money. Finally, always choose a contractor carefully to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.
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