By sheer coincidence, we’d already scheduled a replacement for our AC and furnace that’s taking place right now.
I’m writing this not just to express amazement at our incredible luck—our contractor laughed when I told him, saying “you got every last dime out of your old system, didn’t you!”—but to talk about the importance of having some green saved up to handle the inevitable big repairs that come with owning a home.
Because if it’s not the air conditioning or the heating, it’s the roof—or the sewer line, or the pipes, or the electrical system. Something big will inevitably go wrong during the time you own your house, and often it’s several Big Somethings right in a row.
For around $400, a qualified home inspector can scrutinize your casa and give you an idea of what repairs are in your future. The inspector may help you estimate the costs, or you can get a membership to Angie’s List (which is where we found our contractor, by the way) to see what others paid for similar repairs.
Or you can simply start plugging money into a targeted savings account for your home. Eric Tyson, author of “Personal Finance for Dummies,” recommends setting aside 1% of the value of your home each year for this stuff. In most years, you won’t spend that much, he says—but inevitably a year will come along when you need every dime.