Once you have your list of home repairs (if you don’t have a list, see last week’s blog post to learn how to build it), it’s time to organize it!
First, you need to prioritize the repairs. Top priority goes to anything that affects your safety (faulty wiring, blocked vents. etc.). Second place goes to repairs that will save money (adding insulation, fixing a leak, etc.). Third place goes to things that will make your life easier. Fourth place is anything that is cosmetic.
Once you have classified each repair with a 1, 2, 3, or 4, review the list again, highlighting the repairs that you can do yourself. Your skill level and available time will determine what you can handle. Then, look at how much money you have available to undertake these repairs. Hopefully, it will be enough to cover anything marked number 1. (If not, you may need to look for less expensive ways to complete these repairs, move money from other parts of your budget, or even borrow money from designated savings or through a home equity loan.) If you don’t have anything that affects safety or you have additional funds available, you can keep moving down your list, working to accomplish as much as possible.
In the next two blog posts, we’ll look at how to complete the repairs.
But before I go, I just want to raise a caution and offer a piece of advice. First, the caution. I mentioned the possibility of using a home equity loan. Entering into debt is always a last choice. Using borrowed funds should be limited to cases that affect health and safety, not because you want new blinds. Now, for the advice. If possible, saving for home repairs should be part of your regular monthly saving pattern. I have an account designated as my house account. Each month, I have a small amount of money transferred to that account. I use the money in that account when I need to make repairs and then replace it through my monthly contributions. That way, a necessary repair is less likely to be a financial crisis or impinge on my emergency savings.