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Get to know your house: Top 5 home repairs

Illustration of a home as a toolbox and stylized photo of worker drilling on a roof

    There’s a reason why shows like “Fixer Upper” and “Property Brothers” are so popular – people love watching dilapidated homes transform into dream dwellings.

    In reality, home repairs aren’t all that glamourous. This is especially true when what seems like an easy fix ends up costing a small fortune. According to a report from Home Advisor, more than 30% of homeowners are forced to complete an emergency repair at some point annually - with these repairs costing an average of $1,206.

    Considering a new home? 
    If you’re in the market for a new abode, it’s important to ask your realtor and inspector questions to help assess a prospective home’s condition before committing to a sale. That’s because the average home inspection reveals more than $11,000 in potential repairs. And while the buyer can usually negotiate that the seller makes some of those fixes, they aren’t obligated to do so (unless required by law), so buyers need to be prepared to foot the bill.

    So, what are some of the common repairs to expect when buying a new house? Here,, we’ve shared five of the top home fixes, along with how much they’ll set you back. 

     

    Roof repairs
    Without a roof, you have no protection from the elements, so it’s easily considered one of the most important parts of your home. Unless the house in question is new or newer construction, there could very well be an issue or two that might need fixing. Spot leaks and lost shingles are pretty easy to fix, but if there’s major damage (and a full roof replacement is necessary) you’ll be set back thousands of dollars. If possible, hire an inspector who is willing to walk the roof, otherwise issues could easily be missed. 

    Average cost: $650 for repairs or partial replacement; up to $10,000 to fully replace

     

    Water heater replacement
    The water heater is another big-ticket item that may be on the fritz in a prospective home. Water heaters last an average of eight to 12 years, so it’s important to determine how old the house is or how recently the water heater was replaced. Common issues with water heaters include mineral buildup and overuse, both of which can usually be repaired. But if the damage is extensive, you’ll need to consider a full replacement.

    Average cost: $571 to repair; $750 to $1,300 to replace

     

    Exterior painting/siding
    The good news about exterior siding is it can last 20 to 40 years. The bad news is if there are issues, it can be costly. Common siding problems to watch out for include water stains, cracks on the surface, sagging paneling, bubbling or peeling exterior paint, or mold. If paint is the problem, you can usually find someone to do the job for a pretty reasonable cost (so long as you address any underlying issues like moisture or mold).

    Average cost (siding): $718 to repair; $5,000 to $15,000 to replace

    Average cost (paint): $5,170

     

    Foundation issues
    You need a roof to cover you, but you need a foundation to literally hold your house up (among other important things). Current homeowners may not be aware their house has foundation issues unless these issues have caused a noticeable problem. So, it’s important that your home inspector gives the foundation a good assessment. Common warning signs of a foundation in need of repair include cracks, settling or upheaval, sticky doors and sagging floors. 

    Average cost: $5,857 to repair

     

    Failing HVAC equipment
    During an inspection, your inspector will ensure that the HVAC system is functional. However, they won’t likely do an extensive examination of the equipment, which is the best way to detect future HVAC problems. Therefore, it’s a good idea to determine the age of the equipment and whether or not the current owner has been conducting proper maintenance on it. Otherwise, you may be in for potential HVAC headaches down the road.

    Average cost: $150 to $450 to repair; $4,820 to $9,350 to replace

     

    A note about homeowners insurance
    If you’re buying a new home, you’re also going to need homeowners insurance. You may be wondering if your policy will cover any of the above-mentioned repairs. Chances are, if the issues are caused by routine wear and tear, you’ll need to pay for them out of pocket. However, there are some instances where you may be covered if the damage is due to a peril noted in the policy, such as a recent hailstorm. 

    There’s always the option to add supplemental insurance, which can expand your coverage a little further. Make sure to read your policy thoroughly and ask questions before purchasing so there are no surprises. 

    Learn more about homeowners insurance coverage and find a quote here.

    The ZebraResource Center