According to Benjamin Franklin, the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Of course, he didn’t have a water heater or central air. Let’s add to the list: system failure. In other words, things break. So plan for it.
A water heater has a life expectancy of about 12 years. (6 to 12 years, according to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.) Don’t be taken by surprise the day it fails. When systems are monitored and maintained properly, you will have a better idea of when that day is coming.
That’s the first prong of being a proactive, instead of reactive, homeowner. The other is planning and budgeting. But how much?
1% of the purchase price of the home is a good rule of thumb to start with. This is an average minimum for a home in good condition. From there, it is important to take into consideration any known backlog of repairs. The age of the home, age of each major system, weather conditions and more each play a role too. That 1% will be a minimum.
Finally, start to dream of what the house could be. To the maintenance budget, add an improvement budget. Budgeting, planning, and prioritizing allow for the fun to begin. In other words, once a homeowner is proactive, plans can begin to make capitol improvements and enjoy the home without the worry of surprise costs.