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Why You Need to Budget for Home Repairs — Even if You Buy a Brand-New House

A repairman speaking with an older man and woman in their kitchen.

Image source: Getty Images

When my husband and I bought our new construction home, we assumed we wouldn’t have to face costly repairs for several years. After all, the place was brand spanking new, and many of our appliances had warranties that covered us for a while. Plus, our home had come with a one-year builder warranty, so we knew that if quality issues with the construction itself arose, we’d be protected for 12 months.

But lo and behold, somewhere between our first and second year of living in our home, repairs started to come into play. And that caught us off guard, namely because we hadn’t been budgeting for home repairs that soon.

Thankfully, we had a pretty strong emergency fund, so we were able to raid our savings account to cover the cost of getting our home fixed. But if you’re buying a brand-new home, it’s important to work repairs into your budget so you don’t put yourself at risk of debt when things go wrong.

Repairs can strike at any time

When you buy a newly built home, you’d expect things to just plain work for the first few years. But that’s not always the case. And that’s why it’s so important to put a line item in your budget for home repairs. If you don’t, and you don’t have emergency savings, you may be forced to charge those repairs on a credit card. The result? Costly debt.

Meanwhile, data from All Star Home found that almost 25% of homeowners can’t cover a $1,000 home repair emergency. So if that’s the boat you’re in, it’s especially important to work repairs into your budget.

That said, you’ll need to be careful with how you manage that money during months when repairs don’t pop up. Let’s say you allocate $200 a month to home repairs at the start of a given year, but no issues arise between January and June. What you’d want to do is bank the $1,200 you didn’t spend and perhaps stick it into savings so that if, come July, you’re faced with a $1,000 air conditioner repair bill, you’ll have the money nice and accessible, and you won’t have to scramble to get it.

It’s sometimes better to assume the worst

In many cases, buying a brand-new home will mean not having to deal with repairs — at least major ones — for many years. But there’s no guarantee that will happen, so your best bet is to pad your budget in case things break. That may not be an easy thing to do when you’re adjusting to making a monthly mortgage payment, but it’s crucial nonetheless.

At the same time, it’s important to be vigilant about home maintenance, because that could help you avoid certain repairs — or at least get ahead of them so they don’t become even more expensive. Staining and sealing your wooden deck every year, for example, could prevent it from rotting and you needing to replace it. Cleaning out your gutters could prevent water from seeping into your home.

In some cases, home repairs are truly unavoidable. But you can do your part to lower the chances of them happening to you right away after buying a newly built home.

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