If you are a homeowner, then you most likely have some emergency savings built up for any time your house needs repair or maintenance work done on it, inside or outside. Many homeowners choose to set aside money from each paycheck to build up emergency savings like this, and right now, your financial life might be unstable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Are your emergency savings intact? If they are, then you may be in good shape to get your house repaired and refitted once the pandemic winds down, and this can make your home look and feel like new. There are many good reasons to spend your home emergency savings this way, both in the short term and the near term, and they can benefit you in various ways. Now, how should you allocate those emergency savings on your property? Where should you get started?
This is a pretty common concern among homeowners, seeing how over 90% of all American homes have air conditioners in them and practically all of them have heaters built-in. The heating and cooling utility is known as HVAC, and it is vital that you invest in AC maintenance or upgrades when you hire HVAC contractors. Take note that around 58% of homeowners say they want to spend cash to improve their homes this year, and many of them are probably aiming not just to remodel their house, but get their utilities fixed up, too. The air conditioning is not a utility to ignore, since an inefficient, worn down, or dirty system is going to make the house uncomfortable and waste a lot of your money all year long. Why is that? Bear in mind that in a typical house, the HVAC utility uses up around 50% of all electricity used, so if your HVAC utility is overworked and inefficient, it’s using up a lot of expensive electricity. That pads the electric bill in a hurry.
It is a good idea to hire HVAC system repair experts and furnace repair experts to look over your HVAC system if you suspect a problem, since they know exactly what to look for, and they can reach parts of the house that you may not be able to. A dirty system is going to be inefficient, since debris in the air ducts will obstruct airflow (like animal nests), and if the blower fans are caked with grime, then they suffer from a reduced air output rate. The same may be true of an outdoor air conditioning unit that is choked with pollen and dust. Meanwhile, mechanical issues such as burnt-out components in the furnace, damaged or broken blower fans, or air ducts with holes or leaks in them will also lower the system’s overall efficiency a great deal.
When you invest your emergency savings in AC maintenance, you will get that money back in the long haul, since you will save money on the electric bill in the long term. If your HVAC system is dirty or damaged, then the experts whom you hire will know where to find the dirt or damage, and they can clean off anything or replace it, and they can fix or replace anything that is burnt out or damaged, including the air ducts. A clean and fully functional HVAC utility will maintain cool or warm air (and the humidity) with ease, and you will keep the electric bill under control. If your system is very old, and if you can afford to, it’s a good idea to have the entire utility overhauled and replaced with a new one that is clean and fully functional. A new system is bound to be more energy efficient than your old one, and that means it can help pay for itself over time.
Let’s not forget another major utility: the plumbing. All houses, including yours, will need a constant supply of warm and cool freshwater, and a means of disposing of old, dirty sewer water. If your pipes or drains are clogged, then you can hire plumbers who can perform drain cleaning or unclog the sewer main. This can take care of any backed-up toilets or sinks in your house. If any pipes are busted and leaking, then they are going to waste a lot of water, and that loose water will stain the drywall, encourage mold growth, pool on the floor, and short out electrical components in the walls, among other issues. You can perform minor repairs for your leaky sink, but otherwise, don’t be afraid to spend some of your emergency savings on a plumber who can replace a badly leaking pipe in the walls. This spares you from the costs of wasting so much water year-round and prevents the need for paying for the repair of water-based damage.
Plumbing features can also be replaced for improved aesthetics and water flow, though you might want to save up discretionary money for this as opposed to dipping into your emergency savings, for the most part. Plumbers can remove any old water feature, from sinks to toilets and showerheads, and put in brand new models to replace them. A new toilet or sink will be more water-efficient than the old one, which cuts down on your water bill for years to come. These new sinks, tubs, and showerheads will also look good and may come with new features as well.
Not even the concrete in or near your house should be taken for granted. Concrete is tough and lasts a long time, but it is not indestructible, and your home’s foundation might be allowing rainwater to leak right into your basement. During a flood or heavy rain, intruding water can build up in your basement rapidly, and you are advised to prevent that. Hire foundation experts who will look over your basement and foundation, and if need be, dip into your emergency savings to have concrete sealing and foundation sealing done. This will help prevent any intruding rain or floodwater from getting into your home’s basement. Just in case, you might also spend some of your emergency savings on a sump pump, which can be installed at your basement’s lowest point. Anytime the basement becomes flooded, the water will pool at the pump, which will then draw up the water and dispose of it outside the house.
Getting A Fence Set Up
Should your property include a fence around the front and/or back yards? This is purely optional, and in some cases, it may not be worth spending your emergency savings on. But if you do have your reasons, look for fence installation services in your area, and hire a crew who can install a fence of your chosen type on your property. Some fences are chain links, which are ideal for keeping stray dogs and other wildlife out of your yard. Such fences are among the cheapest to buy and set up, and they allow you to look outside of your yards at the attractive scenery beyond. Chain link fences are easy for human intruders to climb, though, and some homeowners simply don’t like the aesthetics of a chain-link fence. So, they might instead get a wooden fence, which costs more but prevents anyone from looking into your yard or gaining access to it. Brick walls are also an option in some cases, though some areas forbid their construction.
When having a fence installed, be sure to have a gate set up, so you can access your driveway and walkways, and make sure that those gates can be properly locked, too. In the case of wooden fences, make sure that the side with the support beams is on the inside since these make for easy footholds and handholds for intruders if they are on the outside face instead. And if you do get a wooden fence, consider having that fence painted for good looks, or at least have it varnished to protect it from suffering damage from rain or exposure.
Not even the roof should be taken for granted since a faulty roof can cause all kinds of problems for you. If your roof is leaking or has holes in it, that is a good reason to spend some of your emergency savings, since a fixed roof will prevent leaks and save you money over time. A leaking roof allows water to get into the house, causing the same issues as leaking pipes: rotted and warped wood, mold growth, stains on the drywall, shorted-out electrical components, and water pooling in the basement. In addition, a leaky roof will create air drafts, which interferes with your home’s climate control and thus strains the HVAC utility. Also, be wary of squirrels, which might chew their way into your attic and make nests in the air conditioning (and chew on wires and pipes).
Perform roof inspections if you are physically able, and hire roof experts to conduct thorough examinations if you can’t do it yourself. The same applies to the gutters, too, which may be clogged with debris or coming loose. Roofing contractors can replace any loose or missing tiles in a shingle roof, and they can also pour liquid rubber that will seal any cracks or holes in the roof (and prevent new ones from forming). These experts may also remove any intruding animals in the attic and patch up the hole that they chewed in your attic, and apply special paint or glue that will discourage future animal attacks. And if your roof is badly damaged (like from a falling tree) or very old, it is time to spend your emergency savings on an entirely new roof. That involves heavy up-front costs, but it saves you a lot of hassle and expenses since a new roof won’t leak and probably won’t need any repairs for a long time. You might even replace your shingle roof with a metal one.
Hiring Home Remodeling Contractors
What about the industry of home remodeling? This is a robust and popular industry across the United States, and it is especially popular among older homeowners, who have a lot of money saved up and don’t move often. Should you hire remodeling contractors, too? If so, why? Bear in mind that not only will you enjoy a freshly remodeled home for years to come, but future owners of your property will like it, too. If your home is remodeled, then you can justify charging a higher price for it when you put it on the market, and homebuyers may be impressed and make quick offers. Most likely, you will sell your remodeled home faster and for a better price than if you did no remodeling. Thus, when a popular room like the kitchen or master bathroom is remodeled, you may expect an ROI (return on investment) as high as 70-80% or so.
You can choose to have just one or two rooms remodeled, such as the kitchen or master bathroom or even the basement, or have the entire house remodeled. Around 30% of home remodeling jobs involve the entire house, and you can plan this around a vacation or business trip so you and the contractors do not get in each other’s way.
In the kitchen, you can ask the remodelers to tear up the old floor tiles or linoleum and put down fresh flooring, and remodelers can also swap out the lighting fixtures or repaint the walls. While plumbers can replace your sink or dishwasher, other experts can replace the backsplash tiles or replace the countertops with new models, and you might even have a new refrigerator or a new stove. The kitchen cabinets can have their doors sanded down and refinished, then have new varnish or paint applied to them to give them a new look (without the expense of replacing all the cabinets). The master bathroom can have any of its plumbing utilities swapped out with the aid of plumbers, and the floor tiles and lighting fixtures can also be changed.
Home remodeling can also include changing the doors or windows since very old doors or windows can cause serious problems. They are warped and worn out from age and don’t fit well in their frames, so they admit air drafts that disrupt the home’s climate control. In addition, these old doors and windows are easy for burglars to break into, and if nothing else, they look unattractive, since they are worn out, scratched, have termite damage, or have chipped paint. You can invest some of your emergency savings on hiring window and door replacement experts who can fit in new windows and doors, which takes care of all those problems and also makes the house more attractive to home buyers. That can help new windows and doors pay for themselves later on.
In short, if you have some emergency savings on hand when the quarantine is over, you can get a huge return on investment when you get your home’s utilities and features repaired or remodeled, which makes for a comfortable, attractive, and price-efficient home to live in.