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How to Afford Home Repairs When Money Is Tight: A Guide

couple calling for a repair man

A home can be a person’s castle, but keeping that castle in good repair can be challenging, especially when finances are tight. Even the best-maintained homes occasionally need emergency repairs, whether a leaky pipe, water heater replacement, or heating or air conditioning repair.

Consumer Affairs found that the average home needs $3,150 worth of repairs at any time.

When unexpected issues take you—and your pocketbook—by surprise, and you don’t know what to do when you can’t afford home repairs, you might be tempted to ignore repairs or put them off. However, that can lead to more significant issues in the future. Don’t put your home or safety at risk!

There are more alternatives than you may realize to help you through this stressful situation. Cost-effective solutions are available—from DIY projects to local resources and financing options.

The Reality of Home Repair Costs

Home maintenance costs can quickly add up. According to a study by the home services website Angi, in 2022, homeowners spent an average of $1,953 in emergency home repairs. Almost 40% of all home projects in that year were regular maintenance.

Some of the most common emergency home repairs for Texas homeowners include:

  • Water damage repair
  • Electrical repair
  • Appliance repair
  • Plumbing repair
  • Water heater repair or replacement
  • Heating or air conditioning system repair
  • Roof repairs

The most expensive home repairs can be a new furnace, a new air conditioner, or replacing a roof or sewer line. Even minor repairs can be challenging for those already dealing with financial difficulties and limited resources. Here are some solutions.

Affordable Fixes for Common Home Repairs

You can significantly reduce many common home repair costs with basic knowledge. For instance, simple plumbing issues like leaky faucets often require only minor fixes like replacing washers.

Learn Home Repair Skills

Many communities host workshops or classes teaching basic home maintenance skills, from painting walls to fixing minor electrical problems. Learning these skills makes many repairs more affordable and helps you be more self-sufficient when emergency home repairs arise.

DIY Repairs

You can take care of some home repairs yourself with help from resources like YouTube. Fixes that homeowners may feel confident in tackling themselves include the following:couple repairing their home

  • Garbage disposal repair
  • Weatherstripping installation
  • Unclogging drains
  • Tightening loose knobs/handles
  • Repairing wall dings or holes
  • Repairing or replacing doors
  • Fixing broken light fixtures
  • Fixing leaky or malfunctioning faucets
  • Re-caulking tubs or moldings
  • Repairing gutters
  • Fixing a running toilet

If you’re comfortable taking on DIY projects to better afford home repairs, local home improvement stores like The Home Depot or other local resources may offer affordable materials and equipment rentals that cut costs substantially.

Prevent Repairs with Proper Maintenance

Sometimes when you can’t afford home repairs, the best thing to do is stay up on your maintenance to prevent emergency repairs in the first place. Regular maintenance helps avoid costly repairs in the future by addressing issues early.

For example, heating and air conditioning system maintenance, including routine filter changes and duct cleaning, could prevent major repairs.

Affording Home Repairs

Home repair costs can be stressful, especially when they appear out of the blue or money is tight. But with the right budgeting strategy, these financial hurdles become more manageable.

Plan Ahead with a Home Repair Emergency Fund

An emergency fund exclusively dedicated to home repairs can offer a much-needed financial cushion when unforeseen repairs crop up. Experts recommend saving 1% to 4% of your home’s value each year for maintenance and emergency home repairs. For example, aim to set aside between $2k-$8k annually for a single-family house worth $200k.

When determining how much to save, consider the following:

  • Your house’s age. An older home often brings challenges from years of wear and tear and usually requires more frequent maintenance.
  • Your home’s condition. You’ll want to save more for houses that are in poor condition.
  • Local weather conditions. Factor in potential risks in your region, like hailstorms, tornados, or hurricanes.

When saving, start with 1% if needed, and build this safety net over time by consistently contributing every month until you reach your target goal. The peace of mind is worth the effort!

Other Ways to Cover Emergency Home Repair Costs

Planning ahead is all good, but what if you face an urgent situation and can’t afford repairs? Don’t panic. Other financing options exist, from personal loans to tapping into your home equity.

1. Personal Loans

Personal loans, or installment loans, are unsecured loans, meaning they aren’t backed by collateral, like your car or house. You pay back the loan and interest through a payment plan over a specified time frame.

Personal loans offer several benefits:

  • Flexibility: Use the money for whatever you need.
  • Speed: You can apply for a loan, get approved, and access the funds much faster than other financing options—sometimes within minutes! And when emergencies arise, getting immediate help can be crucial.
  • Convenience: Online applications and approval processes make personal loans more convenient than other home repair loans.

The flip side? Interest rates might be higher with personal loans than other types of financing if your credit score isn’t particularly impressive. Lenders like Power Finance Texas can still help with their no-credit-needed loans for home repairs, so your credit score won’t affect your chances of getting a loan.

2. Utilizing Your Home Equity

Your property may also hold part of the solution through what’s known as equity. This refers to any value in your house above what you still owe; essentially, it’s money tied up in bricks and mortar. Loans against your home equity can help with more significant repair bills.

You can tap into your equity in two ways: A home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a home equity loan (HEL).

  1. A HELOC acts like a credit card, providing access to funds up to an agreed limit while only charging interest on what you use.
  2. An HEL loan differs slightly by offering a lump sum with fixed repayments scheduled over time.

3. Government Assistance Programs

For major repairs, government assistance programs may help. For example, the Section 504 Home Repair Program offers government loans and grants for low-income homeowners needing help covering necessary improvements or modifications.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides a list of state programs and resources to help Texas homeowners with repairs and home improvements.

4. Homeowners Insurance Claims

Homeowners insurance is a lifeline for many homeowners, offering financial protection against unexpected damages. Filing a homeowners insurance claim may be an option if accidents or extreme weather damage your home. This could help cover the cost of repairs and renovations.

Be aware that standard policies don’t include all damage types. Routine wear and tear or neglect typically aren’t covered. Review your policy and consult with your insurance provider to understand your coverage.

5. Disaster Relief Funds

When natural disasters like hurricanes or floods cause significant damage, federal disaster relief funds may provide additional assistance beyond homeowner’s insurance coverage. Organizations like FEMA offer aid programs for those affected by declared disasters.

Power Finance Texas Can Help with Unexpected Repair Costs

Home repair costs can be a daunting reality. Still, with an emergency fund, affordable fixes, and DIY solutions, you’re better prepared to handle them. And when you need a financial boost, financing options like personal loans and utilizing your home equity can also help.

If you’re still wondering what to do when you can’t afford home repairs, Power Finance Texas can arrange fast and convenient installment loans from $100 up to $1,250. Get the right amount of relief quickly and conveniently during this challenging time.

Visit Power Finance Texas today for more information about how we can help ease your financial burden related to home repairs. You don’t have to navigate this journey alone!