average home maintenance cost

How Much Should You Save Each Year for Maintenance on Your Home?

Homeowners are used to saving up money for a down payment on their home, expect to pay bills, taxes and may think of their yearly landscaping costs. But what most new owners don’t realize is that their house maintenance cost may be significantly higher than they expect.

How much can you expect to have to save per year?

Let’s find out.

What’s the Average Annual House Maintenance Costs?

Averages can be difficult to assess because there are a lot of factors that can make up your home. For example, a lot of experts recommend the 1% rule, which is good for some people and not others.

Factors that can play a role in costs are:

  • Age of home
  • Type of home
  • Age of major home systems
  • Local costs for repairs
  • Local costs for supplies
  • Cost of the home

Someone with a larger home may have to put aside more money for maintenance, and someone that spent well over the home’s actual cost is likely to need less money for maintenance than they assume.

You’ll also find that the lifespan of components can vary greatly.

Roofs can last a decade longer than expected, while hot water heaters may last three years less than expected. These variations can make it difficult for a homeowner to assess the true cost of home maintenance because it can be wildly different from one year to the next.

Maintenance Costs are NOT Emergency Repair Costs

Keep in mind when using the word “maintenance,” this does not include emergency repair costs. For example, if a storm rolls through and a tree damages your roof requiring replacement, this would be a cost that you didn’t budget for beforehand.

Maintenance costs are generally not as high as the cost for a new roof.

So, if you can’t determine how much to save for potential home maintenance costs, what should you do? There are quite a few methodologies that you can follow to make sure that you’re saving enough money for your home’s maintenance.

Square Footage Rule

How big is your home? One rule that’s commonly followed is that you should save $1 per square foot of space that you have. A 1,500-square foot home, in this case, would require you to save $1,500 a year for home maintenance.

The rule is a good starting point, but when maintenance and repairs are significant, the rule will leave you with less money than you actually need for most repairs or maintenance.

Let’s assume that you have a 1,500 square-foot home that needs to have its roof replaced. You’ll need to have the following amount of money to replace your roof:

Live in the Northeast? Expect to pay more for roof repairs than if you lived in West Virginia or Mississippi.

Again, a roof is a major repair, so this wouldn’t be a normal maintenance cost.

Defining What’s Normal Home Maintenance

Normal home maintenance, rather than a major repair, will include items such as:

  • Landscaping and lawn mowing
  • Cleaning:
    • Gutters
    • Vents
    • Siding
  • Power washing the patio or deck
  • Fixing faucet leaks
  • Replacing rusty fixtures
  • Servicing major appliances
  • Sealing your driveway
  • Filter replacements

What to Remember with All Savings Rules

We’re going to cover a few additional rules to properly save for your home maintenance costs, but one idea is to keep excess money aside. You might only spend $500 this year while having a $1,500 maintenance budget.

Setting aside the excess $1,000 will enable you to have a financial cushion when major repairs are needed.

Unexpected repairs are a part of owning a home, and the only way to be able to financially withstand these costs is to think ahead.

The 1% Rule

When budgeting for home repairs, most experts recommend saving 1% of your home’s value every year for maintenance costs.

If you have a $200,000 home, this means setting aside $2,000 for maintenance costs annually. Some experts recommend going as high as 4% of the home’s value, or roughly $8,000 in this case.

The higher end amount is often too much, but it will depend on the size, age and property that the home sits on. You might not need this much money for a new home on a small lot, but if the home is 40 years old and the lot is 10 acres that requires a lot of upkeep, you may need $8,000 in annual upkeep.

Homes in areas with extreme weather conditions may also demand a higher level of maintenance.

While experts claim that this rule is pretty accurate, there are some exceptions:

  • Weather conditions where you live
  • Age of the home
  • Type of home

Log cabins, for example, have additional upkeep because they require sealing every year. You also have to budget for major treatments every five or six years. The annual cost for these treatments is $750, while the major treatment every five or six years averages $6,000.

Condos, where you’ll pay a monthly maintenance fee, will cover all of the exterior, roof and landscaping costs for you.

So, if your home is old, you live in areas where extreme weather is common or you have a type of home, such as a log cabin, that requires more upkeep, you may need to save 2% or even 4% of your home’s value for maintenance.

When Major Home Repairs Are Needed

You might not be able to judge exactly what it will cost to replace a hot water heater 10 years from now, but having a general idea of when major repairs will be needed is a good thing. And you’ll be able to begin saving for these repairs early on, allowing you to experience less of an “emergency” in the process.

The general timeline for major system repairs is:


Costs depend on the type of shingles or roof, and will need replacement as follows:

  • Composition – 12 to 20 years
  • Asphalt – 15 to 30 years
  • Wood – 20 to 30 years
  • Rubber- 30 to 50 years
  • Metal – 50 to 75 years

You may also decide that when your roof needs to be replaced, you want to go with metal since these roofs last significantly longer.


Exterior painting or replacement may need to be done every three to six years. Wood siding must be replaced every three to seven years, while fiber cement needs to be repainted every 10 to 15 years.

Brick lasts even longer.

Hot Water Heater

Typical hot water heaters have a lifespan of eight to 12 years, but tankless models can last 25 years.

As a homeowner, you also need to consider septic and plumbing costs. A little budgeting and calculating which maintenance tasks you’re likely to need in the coming year can better help you save for your house maintenance costs.