The Big 4

The Big 4

We can all agree, owning and maintaining a home can be expensive. Balancing the expenses and updates over the years can help you maintain your property, while keeping your budget affordable. When it comes to searching for a home, knowing the estimated costs of common repairs can help in drafting an offer, and also budgeting for future repairs. 

Matt shares “the big 4” he looks for when touring homes with his buyer clients.

Homes vary in size, location / accessibility and the level of work needed. Ideally a professional contractor would provide a quote specific to the property and can offer specific advice given the unique circumstance. The following list offers approximate costs for buyers to consider, although keep in mind the costs may vary depending on the scope of the work.

  1. Roofs - most roof shingles have a life of 20-25 years (some steele or architectural shingles can be up to 50 years). When the shingles start to curl or the roof lines are not straight, it may be time to consider a new roof or shingles before weather causes damage to the structural elements, insulation and further damage to the home. Depending on the size of the roof and the style of home, complexity, accessibility, pitch and other factors, the cost may be between $20,000 - $40,000.

  2. Septic Systems - most septic systems are costly to replace. Depending on the type (holding tank, mound system or conventional system), a brand new system can cost $10,000 - $30,000 depending on the property. This is a hefty investment up front, but if well maintained, can last 30-40 years. One thing to keep in mind - if the property is located in an area that has been annexed to city water / sewer, when the septic fails or needs to be replaced, some municipalities require the home be annexed into the city water / sewer. This also would be at the expense of the owner which would include running the water lines and sewer lateral to the home and removing the existing septic system and properly abandoning the well to ensure it meets environmental / municipal standards.

  3. Electrical wiring - writing in older homes may need to be updated over the years, especially if the home is 100+ years old. Small updates here and there may not break the bank, rewiring an entire home often entails opening up drywall / plaster and likely ceilings too in some areas. Remember, 100 years ago, the electrical codes were not as strict as they are today, so accessibility poses a challenge at times. When the home is complete, the repair work may add additional expenses to the table. 

  4. Plumbing repair - similar to electrical repair, plumbing repair can be costly not only with labor and materials, but also depending on the location of the pipework, it may require a drywall or plaster removal. Again, due to the shift in code requirements, homes built more recently are more accessible for repair, whereas older homes often require opening up ceilings / walls to have access to the water lines or sewer lines that may need repair.

All in all, all homes require maintenance and repair. Understanding the importance of routine maintenance and expected lifespan for mechanical and structural elements can be important when owning a home. Plan a budget for items that may need repair down the line and stick to it. Planning to replace a roof is costly, but on the bright side, you now have equity in your home that was improved by the investment you made. Every repair isn’t dollar for dollar but in the long run will add value and longevity to your property. 

As a reminder, we always recommend getting a professional opinion, as the scope of work varies from job to job. We hope you find this information helpful and are here to help when you’re ready to start house hunting!

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