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Budgeting for Home Improvements

Budgeting for Home Improvements

Every home needs a sound exterior to protect what’s inside. However, few people are good at budgeting for home improvements that will need to be done until their roof is already leaking, or their siding is showing more than average wear and tear. Even worse, a leak can cause significant interior damage over time, which could mean an even bigger expense.

The true cost of home ownership adds up to much more than your mortgage payment.  You also need to budget for ongoing maintenance, repairs,  and big-ticket replacements.  If you plan on staying in your home for at least the next five to ten years, it’s smart to start saving today for tomorrow’s leaky roof.

Do the Math

The first step is to focus on the big-ticket components of your home that will cost the most to replace, or those that will cause the most damage if they fail.  Roofing and siding are two of these items.

Next, estimate the cost of replacement.  In the Waukesha, WI area, the average roof replacement costs $15,000 and the average siding replacement costs $ 18,000.

The final step is to divide the replacement cost by the number of years left in the expected life.  If your siding will likely need replacement in five years, it would be smart to set aside $3,600 a year to cover the cost.  Saving this amount each year can be a challenge, but it’s better than waiting until the siding is falling off the home and going $18,000 in debt to cover the replacement.

Make a Five-Year Plan

Odds are that very few big-ticket items are going to need replacement in the next five years.  Review the age, condition, and life expectancy of your roofing and siding.  Which of these will most likely need to be replaced in the next five years?  Will it cost more than your normal savings can handle?  This will determine your budget planning.

Our harsh Wisconsin weather takes a toll on the exterior of your home.  Roofing and siding, being constantly subjected to the elements, do not last forever.   If you aren’t sure how old your roofing or siding is, or how much longer it will last, call a trusted contractor and get their opinion. Their experience and expertise will be a valuable part of your planning process.

When you plan and begin budgeting for home improvements, such as roofing and siding,  you won’t disrupt your regular budget or spending plans.  Being prepared for the large expense of home improvements will make a potentially stressful event that much easier.