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How Much Does Home Maintenance Truly Cost?

Buying a new home is an exciting endeavor, but many first-time buyers forget to factor in the cost of maintaining their home. Upkeep isn’t cheap, but there are simple ways to budget your money that make maintenance and repairs easier to manage.

How much does home maintenance cost? Follow these steps to find out.

Keeping Things Simple

The easiest way to determine maintenance costs for your home is the 1% rule. Simple take one percent of your home’s total value, and budget that much per year.

If your home cost $200,000, then you would need to set aside $2,000 for repairs and upkeep. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will spend the entire one percent each year, however. Instead, it means that you will have spent an average of $2,000 annually in maintenance on a $200,000 home over the course of ten years.

One year you might need an LA plumbing company to work their magic, another year you might only need a fresh coat of paint on the porch. These things always vary, but you will still pay roughly one percent of your home’s cost on average.

This method isn’t perfect, especially when factoring in the timing of buying your home. You might have purchased your house at the peak of the housing bubble or got it at a steep discount, but it doesn’t hurt to plan a savings budget around this rule.

Easy Rule #2

You could also use the square foot rule to determine how much maintenance will cost in a year on average. This rule says that you should budget $1 per square foot, meaning a 1,600 square foot home would cost $1,600 in upkeep.

Generally speaking, more square footage leads to a greater price in repairs. This makes the square foot rule slightly more applicable than the 1% rule. However, it does not take into account the cost of labor.

If you hire Spotless Cleaning Chicago, provided you live in the windy city, then the square foot rule only considers the cost of their services. So, you may want to stock a little more away to cover the full cost.

Factors to Consider

There are multiple factors that can affect your expected costs in home repairs. Age tends to make the largest impact, simple because things wear down over time. At 20 to 30 years, homes may need things like new wiring in some places or water heaters and piping.

Weather also plays a key role, with homes in areas that experience more severe conditions costing more in maintenance. High winds, heavy rains, and freezing temperatures can wear down a house faster than you might think.

The condition former residents left the home in is another key factor. The better they kept up on maintenance, the less the home may need. This isn’t always the case, but it does weigh in on costs.

Location is another highly determining factor. Areas prone to flooding might end up costing you a significant amount in repairs. Homes in locations that experience below freezing temperatures for the majority of winter also come with the cost of pipe maintenance.

Single-family homes also require a larger sum for maintenance since fewer people occupy a larger space. Condos and townhomes, on the other hand, usually have their exterior maintenance cared for.

How Much Does Maintenance Really Cost?

By combining the information above, you can create an excellent estimate on what your yearly upkeep costs will be. Start by using the one percent rule and square foot rule.

If the one percent rule leaves you paying more, stick with that number. If not, find a median in-between the two costs you’ve come up with. From there, add 12% for each factor listed above.

Starting with the $200,000 dollar home, the math breaks down like this:

  • 1% – $2,000
  • 1,125 square feet – $1,125
  • Freezing temps – 12% equals $240
  • Single-family and high winds – $240 x 2 = $480


The average maintenance cost for our imaginary home is $2,720. That includes the 1% rule, since the price was higher than the square foot rule, and all three factors at 12% a piece.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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