How to Budget for Home Upkeep

Quick Answer

A general rule of thumb is to keep 1% to 4% of your home’s value in savings to cover routine and surprise home maintenance costs. Setting aside money each paycheck can help you cover home upkeep so maintenance and repairs don’t burst your budget.

Young man fixing a leak under the bathroom sink

Budgeting for home upkeep is an important part of owning a home. Not only will you need to pay for regular maintenance for upkeep to appliances and home systems, but surprise repair and replacement costs can occur. Having money set aside for these routine and unexpected expenses can make homeownership easier on your finances. We'll cover some typical home upkeep costs and how to budget for them.

How Much Does Home Upkeep Cost?

The cost to maintain your house can depend on the size of your home, its age and what maintenance you choose to DIY or pay someone else to do. For example, a fixer-upper could cost more to maintain than a new home or a recently renovated one. Below are some examples of potential home-related costs to budget for:

Ongoing Expenses

These are examples of monthly or ongoing costs you might encounter.

Expense Potential Cost
Lawn care $48 - $207
House cleaning $30 - $50 per hour
Pest control $40 - 70 per month
A/C servicing $50 - $300

Sources: Angi, Thumbtack

Annual Expenses

Below are examples of annual expenses and other costs that could come up less frequently.

Expense Potential Cost
Tree trimming $315 - $700
HVAC maintenance $85 - $170
Water heater maintenance $39 - $1,700
Fireplace and chimney sweeping $130 - $380
Gutter cleaning $119 - $227
Exterior power washing $193 - $408
Pool maintenance $110 - $351

Sources: Lawnstarter, Thumbtack, Angi

Ad Hoc Expenses

Below are examples of one-off expenses that you might encounter due to a system breakdown or aging of your home's structures.

Expense Potential cost
Appliance replacement $350 - $8,000
Roof replacement $5,703 - $12,328
Deck repair $797 - $3,173
Pipe repair $50 - $733
Heater or cool system replacement $5,000 - $12,500

Sources: Angi, Thumbtack

How Do You Factor Home Upkeep Costs Into Your Budget?

One general recommendation is to have 1% to 4% of your home's value stashed away in savings for routine and surprise home maintenance costs each year. So, if your home is worth $500,000, your goal would be to have $5,000 to $20,000 saved.

A second way to figure out how much to budget for home upkeep per year is going by the square footage method, where you budget $1 per square foot. For a 2,000-square-foot home, that would mean budgeting $2,000 annually for home upkeep. While this may be a good starting point, it could be worth putting some extra money aside for years you might have major expenses, like a roof, HVAC system or appliance replacement.

Understandably, saving several thousand dollars for home upkeep might feel intimidating, but putting away a percentage of your income each month could help you get there. Devoting any cash windfalls you get from a tax refund, bonus or commission could also give you a headstart on increasing your savings balance.

How Can You Reduce the Cost of Home Upkeep?

Finding ways to cut costs can help the money you save for home repairs go further. Here are four ways to potentially keep costs low:

  • Get handy. Consider learning how to do simple maintenance and repairs like unclogging a drain and replacing air filters. If you have the time, divvying up chores between people in your household, like cleaning, mowing the lawn, gardening, shoveling snow and raking leaves, could also save you some bucks.
  • Consider warranties. Purchasing a home or appliance warranty could help cover the cost of home systems and appliance malfunctions. But for warranties to be cost-effective, the money you save on repairs needs to exceed how much you pay for the service contract itself, and that could be a gamble.
  • Get referrals for low-cost repair people. When you need to hire someone to do maintenance work, looking in your network to find an affordable friend or preferred repair person could help you keep costs low.
  • Look for budget fixes. If you need to do a renovation or repair, shopping around for budget fixtures, materials, appliances or paint can make upkeep costs manageable.

While saving money on home maintenance is good, be careful not to sacrifice quality for price or cut corners since your home is an important asset. Sometimes spending more for higher-value items or repairs could help them last longer, resulting in less money spent overall.

Smaller jobs around the house could be easy to learn how to do, but when it comes to clearing gutters, electrical work and other major tasks, it may be better to call the professionals. After all, you don't want to hurt yourself trying to save money, and putting a bandage on a problem could cause further damage to your home if it persists.

The Bottom Line

Besides upfront costs like a home down payment and closing costs, owning a home comes with other expenses that can be difficult to pay if you don't have money saved.

When household costs arise that you can't cover with cash, using a personal loan or credit card could bridge a financial gap. With Experian CreditMatch™, you can prequalify and receive personalized credit options to help you shop around, compare rates and determine whether borrowing is the right move for you.