If you live in a house long enough, it will need repairs. But it seems like an unwritten law of the universe that within three months of buying a new place—no matter how thoroughly inspected or newly renovated it is—it will require an upgrade of some sort. And we’re not talking the fun stuff, like choosing a new backsplash or finally splurging on that Samsung Frame TV that looks like art when you’re not binging Manifest. So, how much should you budget for home repairs, when it feels like you’re budgeting for the unknown? (After all, a basement leak could set you back anywhere from $600 to $10,000.) We turned to Andrea Collins, vice president of marketing at home insurance company Hippo, for her insights.
Spoiler: We were underbudgeting big time.
When you’re buying a house, Collins recommends setting aside 1 percent of the home’s value per year to cover the cost of unexpected repairs and maintenance. That’s $3,749, if your home costs $374,900 (the median price of a house right now)—significantly more than the $1,000 emergency fund many of us learned about in home economics. And it’s not just Hippo recommending it; the financial pros at Discover echo the 1 percent guideline, while experts at Bond Street Mortgage and State Farm suggest anywhere from 1 to 4 percent, if you can swing it.