Buying a home has its rewards and drawbacks.  One of the biggest drawbacks to home ownership is the regular home maintenance needed to keep a home operating at peak efficiency.

Properly maintaining a home increases the homes value as well as minimized operating costs.  Deferring maintenance is not a good practice and may also be dangerous or life threatening.

A good rule of thumb is to allocate about 1% of the purchase price for yearly home maintenance.  For example, if you buy a house for $200,000 a homeowner should budget about $2,000 per year for maintenance.

Below is a list of major systems and the average yearly cost to replace them when they become obsolete.

Item           Cost        Lifetime    Avg $/year

Roof           $6,000      20 years    $300
HVAC/Furnace   $3,000      20 years    $150
Windows        $6,000      15 years    $400
Paint          $2,500      10 years    $250
Remodel        $5,000      10 years    $500
Carpet         $2,000      10 years    $200
Electric       $4,000      20 years    $200
Plumbing       $5,000      30 years    $167
Water Heater   $1,000      10 years    $100

Average Cost per Year to Budget:     $2,267 

For older homes (older than 30 years), buyers may have to deal with old plumbing systems (galvanized pipes, lead pipes, clay pipes, etc.) old electric systems (knob and tube wiring, insufficient service entrance, aluminum wiring, non-grounded circuits, etc.) lead paint, asbestos or unsafe heating systems (leaking or cracked heat exchangers, open fires, underground oil tanks, leaking duct work, etc.).  Besides being older and difficult to maintain, the systems may be inefficient and actually costing more to operate than newer systems.  Proper budgeting will help the homeowner upgrade systems to modern energy efficient systems.

Older homes are usually desireable for their charm and character.  Buyer should be aware of the systems and the costs to bring an older home up to modern energy efficient standards while maintaining the charm and character – thereby enjoying the best of both worlds!

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