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The Homeowners’ Guide to Property Budgeting

For many of us, buying a property is one of the biggest investments we’ll ever make. Along with the initial capital investment, ongoing maintenance, repairs, and cosmetic updates to your home need to be considered and budgeted for. Expenses vary depending on factors such as the size, age, location and condition of your home, but as a general rule, you can expect to spend between 1% (for newer homes) and 2% (for older homes) of your home’s value each year.

Planning ahead for annual maintenance jobs and smaller projects can save you the hassle and stress that come along with unexpected expenses. More significant investments, like roof replacement, can take decades to roll around, but it’s still important to keep track of when these big-ticket projects are expected to arise so you can budget appropriately in advance. Here’s a look at some of the property expenses you should be preparing for.

Yearly to-dos

A home safety check is a great way to make sure everything in your home is working as it should. This includes checking that smoke detectors, power outlets, and your sump pump are in working order. You can do an inspection yourself using Setter’s 10-point Home Safety Checklist, or prices start at $150 to hire a professional to do a thorough check-up, depending on the size of your home.

Servicing your furnace or boiler yearly prolongs the lifespan of your system, saving you money in the long run. If you have a forced-air furnace, you should also replace your filter every 2-3 months for 1-inch filters, and every 6-12 months for 4-5-inch filters. Prices start at $150 per unit for maintenance service.

Clean your eavestroughs at least once a year, depending on the amount of leaf-fall your home gets. Leaving clogged eavestroughs unattended can result in water damage which could lead to more serious and expensive problems. Prices start at $150, depending on the size of your house.

Sweep your chimney every 50 fires, or at least once a year if you have a wood-burning fireplace, to prevent chimney fires. If you have a gas fireplace, an annual servicing will keep it at peak working condition. Prices start at $150 per unit.

Big ticket items

Roofing can last between 12-30 years if your home has asphalt shingles. Aluminum eavestroughs and downspouts last about 20-30 years. Whether this is a long way away for your home or closer than you thought, you should start saving up now. Prices for shingle replacements range between $2.50 and $10.00 per sq. ft., and replacing eavestroughs range between $5.00 and $10.00 per lin. Ft. The price is hefty, but you should not delay replacing them – ignoring either of these concerns can result in major water damage to your home.

New windows provide better insulation for your home, as well as improved sound-proofing. Windows last between 15-40 years before they need replacing. You can check the age of your windows by reading the markings between the window panes that indicate the year the window was made. Window caulking will typically last 10-25 years and will start to crack when it’s time to be replaced. Prices for windows are roughly $1,000 to $2,000 per unit, and re-caulking a window typically costs $75-100 per unit.

It’s cheaper and easier to replace old appliances than to repair them. So if you’re attached to a brand or model that is no longer produced, our advice is to wrangle yourself away from the idea of repairing it, and upgrade to a new one. You can check the serial code sticker on your appliance to tell its age, but typically there will be signs (and sounds) to warn you that your appliance is soon going to breakdown. The lifespan of the most common appliances are:

  • Fridge: 10-18 years
  • Range: 13-23 years
  • Range Hood: 9-19 years
  • Dishwasher: 9-16 years
  • Microwave: 5-10 years
  • Freezer: 12-20 years
  • Washing machine: 8-16 years
  • Dryer: 11-18 years

Appliance prices can start from as low as $20 and run up to thousands depending on the appliance, size, quality, and brand.

Furnaces, AC units and boilers are fundamental to everyday survival – especially in Toronto where the summers are blazing hot and the winters are blistering cold. If one of these systems breaks down, you need to have funds handy to replace it immediately. With regular maintenance, you can expect your forced-air furnace to last 15-25 years, your AC to last 10-15 years, and your boiler to last 15-25 years. Depending on the quality of the unit, and the size of your home, prices for furnace replacement range between $2,000 and $8,000 per unit, AC replacement starts at $3,000, and boiler replacements cost between $3,500 and $12,000.

Whether you already had a home maintenance budget that just required a few tweaks or you’re crunching the numbers for the first time, we hope that this guide will help you effectively plan your home budgeting for the short and long term. If you need more details on quotations, or have any further questions about budgeting for your home, Setter’s Home Managers are always ready to help! Book a free home consultation and let them help you create a custom budget for your home.